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In 1982, di­rec­tor Steven Spiel­berg and the late screen­writer Melissa Mathi­son col­lab­o­rated on the fam­ily-film clas­sic E.T. and struck gold. Here, they tackle a work by beloved chil­dren’s nov­el­ist Roald Dahl, and while it seems like this should be a per­fect fit, the film­mak­ers can never quite sum­mon the req­ui­site magic. A young girl named So­phie (Ruby Barn­hill) is taken from her or­phan­age by a big, friendly gi­ant (a com­puter-gen­er­ated cre­ation voiced by Mark Ry­lance), and even­tu­ally helps him get rid of un­friendly giants. The char­ac­ters are un­der­de­vel­oped, leav­ing us with no af­fec­tion for them or sense of their emo­tional stakes. The pace is glacial, and the over­all tone aims for whimsy but labors too hard at this goal, and it shows. There are jokey scenes that will please the lit­tlest ones, but older kids will be non­plussed, and par­ents will strug­gle to stay awake.

Rated PG. 117 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

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