When young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), befriends a giant named the BFG (Mark Rylance), she is whisked off to a far away land of unlimited dreams and fearsome giants, led by The Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement). Seeing the evil that the giants are capable of, Sophie and the BFG create a plan to defeat them once and for all, and free all of the dreams that the BFG secretly guards.
Cinema maestro Steven Spielberg brings to life the world of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book, The BFG, in his first-ever collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. Spielberg has long been a director capable of producing magic on the silver screen, and it is fitting that he ‘s now worked for the most magical of all studios in Hollywood. Spielberg focuses on the fairytale aspects of Dahl’s famous tale, building a world that both children and adults will want to visit over and over again, while also injecting moments of absolute hilarity.
Perfectly cast is Spielberg’s former collaborator Mark Rylance as the titular BFG. Rylance truly captures the spirit of this beloved character with subtle character traits and mismatched speech. With emotions that lead from joy to misunderstanding, shyness and humour, Rylance crafts an almost grandfatherly figure as The BFG, who is also in desperate need of a friend and finds one in the precocious Sophie. The friendship that builds between these two is sweet and sincere, and is a testament to how we can overcome one another’s differences.
While Rylance brilliantly conveys his character through superb CGI work, it’s newcomer Ruby Barnhill who is really the star of the film, and an amazing talent to keep an eye on. It is hard for any performer to react to a green screen let alone someone as young as Barnhill, but this young talent’s realistic reaction to the giants around her is so convincing that audiences won’t fail to believe her for a moment. Her portrayal of Sophie channels curiosity, intelligence, feistiness, and ultimately kindness, as she comes to build a friendship with The BFG. We see big things ahead for this amazing young actress.
While the film’s character development and story are lead by the amazing performances of Rylance and Barnhill, special mention must be given to the wizards at Weta Workshop, who have expertly brought to life this whimsical world. The artistry is so superb that it is an easy place to want to disappear into, especially when The BFG and Sophie go dream hunting and enter a beautiful dimension filmed with sparkling colour.
The BFG is a grand achievement on Spielberg’s behalf, and whether old or young, audiences will get swept up in the magic of dream country, and the adventure that awaits.
Image source: Walt Disney Pictures.