117 minutes | MPAA rating: PG
Among the great gifts given by young Steven Spielberg to the movies was a sense of wonder.
Films like “Close Encounters,” “E.T.” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” are plenty smart, but they work because of the childlike awe with which Spielberg approaches his stories.
A 69-year-old Spielberg brings back the awe with “The BFG,” a fantasy designed to tickle the kid in each of us.
Based on Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book, “The BFG” (it stands for “Big Friendly Giant”) soars on a couple of terrific lead performances, astonishing special effects work and a droll sensibility.
The film also represents the last screenplay by the late Melissa Mathison, whose kid-friendly credits include “The Black Stallion,” “E.T.” and “The Indian in the Cupboard.”
Ten-year-old Sophie (a terrific Ruby Barnhill) lives in a London orphanage and dreams of escape. One night she spies an immense dark figure moving furtively through the streets.
Confronting this vision she soon finds herself in Giant Land where she is a guest/captive of The BFG (Mark Rylance), whose job it is to collect and redistribute children’s dreams.
The BFG is a benign eccentric who converses in his own brand of Yoda-speak, tossing around tongue-twisting words like “frobscottle” and “snozzcumber.”
BFG is a vegetarian, but the same cannot be said for the other giant inhabitants of the place. These skyscraper-sized Neanderthals have a taste for human flesh (especially children) and bear appropriately gruesome names like Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeater (their voices are provided by Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement and Rafe Spall, among others). (more…)