As far as reading Roald Dahl’s works, I’ve only read some of his short stories. I’ve yet to read any of his novels. But I’ve seen almost all film adaptations of his novels, namely Matilda, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original 1971 movie), James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I really enjoyed all of them. They’re endearing and quirky, but also subtly dark (except for The Witches, which is manifestly creepy). I like them so much that I’ve watched each a few times over (the one I re-watched the least is The Witches – just thrice, I think – and the one I’ve re-watched the most is Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, but my most favorite is Fantastic Mr. Fox).
So, I can say that I have a fondness for Roald Dahl movies. However, this latest one, The BFG – though charming, heartwarming, and visually luscious – didn’t quite impact me. It’s easily my least favorite among all movie adaptations of Dahl’s books.
The BFG tells the story of an insomniac ten-year-old orphan girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who sees a giant (Mark Rylance) outside her window one late night. This leads the giant to abduct her, bringing her with him to giant country in order prevent her from revealing the existence of giants to other humans. Fortunately for Sophie, the giant – who named himself “Big Friendly Giant” or BFG – is unlike the rest of his kind, who are brutish, cruel, and – worst of all – eat “human beans.” The two eventually become friends, and team up to get rid of the evil, man-eating giants once and for all.
Having not read the original novel, I couldn’t say if the movie fell short in capturing the essence of the book or if the source material is just not as great as the other Dahl novels. But it’s not a bad movie at all. Since it’s from Disney, good quality is almost guaranteed. The CGI is magnificent, the performances of the two leads are impeccable (considering that in a CGI-heavy production, actors have to work in a green screen set almost all of the time, making it harder for them to act more believably because of the lack of tangible interaction and surroundings), the direction is solid (hey, it’s Spielberg!), and the story is amiably kid-friendly. However, it doesn’t seem to have enough to utterly gravitate me towards it.
The BFG is an amusing movie. It definitely entertains. But it’s not as thoroughly delightful as I wanted it to be. I don’t expect it to become a classic. Personally, it’s not something I will seek re-watching, and even if I ever do watch it again, I don’t think I will with gusto.