Ruby Barnhill and Mark Rylance make a magical connection of friendship in Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.
It’s been a while since Steven Spielberg has directed a live-action movie in which a child was the focus of the film (A.I. Artificial Intelligence which starred Haley Joel Osment as a young boy robot was released in 2001.) But after all this time, Spielberg hasn’t lost his touch with bringing out the best in young talent, and Ruby Barnhill is quite the talent.
The movie is based off of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, The BFG, which was published in 1982. (Additionally, that book was actually an expansion of a short story that was published in Dahl’s 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World.)
While Ruby Barnhill plays the orphan Sophie, Mark Rylance plays the Big Friendly Giant, and though The BFG looks quite older than Rylance, the digitized approach brought a nice photorealistic look to the the BFG
The same goes for the nine other not-so-friendly giants that live in Giant Country, including the meanest of them all, Fleshlumpeater (Jermaine Clement), as well as Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Manhugger (Adam Godley), to name a few.
The impressive computer graphics also extend to the visual graphics of the BFG’s home and Dream Country, in which we get to see the dreams that the giant catches as little floating, flying, colorful living things.
Although Ruby and the BFG form a nice friendship, it’s obvious that trouble brews for them, because human beings have a particular scent that the other giants have no problem smelling, and being that they’re man-eating giants, this poses a problem for Sophie as well as human beings all over the U.K.
Beautiful and impressive as the visual effects may be, it’s when Sophie decides it’s time to ask for help from the Queen of England that we get to properly enjoy the movie with a decent amount of humor for all ages, even if it has to do with a little bit of flatulence.
Having never read the actual book as a child (or even as an adult, and I don’t intend to as it won’t have the same wonder for me as it would the child-me,) I can’t say whether it was lacking when compared to the book, but I can say that I found the simplicity of it adequately fitting for a family movie.
The wonderment of many of Steven Spielberg’s movies of the 80s came through in this movie, though maybe not as much as some of his most popular movies. I can’t say it would ever replace something like the sci-fi adventure and coming-of-age tale that is E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial or the the jaw-dropping look of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but there’s still a good amount of whimsy and magic to be enjoyed in this film.
It certainly helps when you have such talented actors like Ruby Barnhill and Mark Rylance to carry the movie as well. Their chemistry is sweet and innocent and something that’s greatly needed in this world. Accompany that with the music of John Williams and much of the visual effects and animation by Weta Digital, along with the direction by Spielberg, it’s no surprise that this movie gives such positive feels.
If you’ve seen The BFG as well, you’re welcome to enter your rating below!
The BFG is in theaters now.