Film review: The BFG (4 out of 5)

The BFG

The BFG

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I read a lot of books to my daughters when they were very young, but for some unknown reason Roald Dahl’s The BFG wasn’t among them.

They would have enjoyed it; this tale of giants would certainly have made far more sense than some of P.L. Travers’ surreal Mary Poppins sequels!

Dahl has had a few works transformed into movies, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mathilda, and Fantastic Mr Fox.

But the technology now exists for a really good stab at The BFG.

And who better to piece it all together but the maestro himself, Steven Spielberg.

The story itself is simple enough - an orphan called Sophie discovers a giant and is taken to his home where even bigger giants plot to attack children in the UK.

It sounds quite dark, but there’s so much charm and humour over the two hours that time just slips by.

Mark Rylance as The Big Friendly Giant is quite superb, as you’d expect from one of our most respected and talented actors.

The motion capture technique means The BFG actually looks like Rylance and so much more expression can be included.

Full marks to young Ruby Barnhill who plays Sophie, giving the orphan a believeable character without going over the top.

In fact all the cast are great, including Penelope Wilton as The Queen and Jermaine Clement (formerly of The Flight of the Conchords) as Fleshlumpeater.

Children who have read the book will probably appreciate the film more, but very young ones might find some of the scenes a bit too scary.

In a film era where the accent seems to be on constant action and explosions, it’s good to see a movie that relies more on developing the characters.

True, some of the scenes did feel a little slow, but I always enjoy watching the master, Rylance, in action.

Film details: The BFG (PG) 117mins

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol