A giant achievement
THE BFG (PG)
Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader. Verdict: Living it large ON pedigree alone, The BFG amiably stomps to the front of the queue for all younger viewers this school holidays.
The source material is a brilliant book by celebrated author Roald Dahl (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory).
The great Steven Spielberg directs, from a script by the late Melissa Mathison (screenwriter of Spielberg’s all-time classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial).
The visual effects technology that blends an imposing range of manmountains with regular-sized people is truly spellbinding.
Oh, and just to guarantee the target audience will have themselves a blast, The BFG also features what could come to be regarded as the greatest fart scene (set inside Buckingham Palace!) ever committed to film.
The title character, played by recent Bridge of Spies Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, answers to the name of Big Friendly Giant.
However, his best friend, a young British orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), reckons BFG is the speedier, more convenient way to address this 20m behemoth.
Don’t be too intimidated by BFG’s height. He is actually considered a runt by his fellow giants.
BFG is also regarded as a complete outsider among his own kind, and relentlessly bullied on account of his strictly vegan diet. All the other giants maintain their strength by snacking on “human beans” (Dahl’s rich and roguish slang-uage is delightfully to the fore throughout the movie).
Not BFG. He has too much of an affinity with little people like you and me. In fact, his favourite pastime is delivering specifically tailored dreams to men, women and children.
BFG captures the dreams on daily hunting expeditions, then creeps into London each evening to gently place these visions inside the minds of the sleeping.
It is while making his delivery rounds one evening that BFG first makes the acquaintance of young Sophie, an inquisitive and fearless child who can soon handle herself in the wilds of Giant Country very well indeed.
The motion-capture wizardry that breathes real and warm life into the giant characters of The BFG is never less than a wonder to behold.
Having an actor of the refined calibre of Rylance lending his likeness to a touching and admirable reading of the title character is a vital added bonus (as is the sterling support work of young Barnhill, who applies just the right touches of precociousness and poignancy as required).
And let’s not forget the surreal hilarity that ensues when that soonto-be-infamous fart scene blows up in the final act.
Spielberg hasn’t unleashed this much firepower onscreen since the D-Day landing sequence in Saving Private Ryan.