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Friday, July 1, 2016

The BFG Movie Review

I had the privilege of seeing an advanced screening of The BFG on Tuesday. My nine-year old son is a big fan of Roald Dahl who authored the book the movie is based on and I couldn't pass up on the opportunity. Having not read the book myself when I was younger, I asked my son for a synopsis before seeing the movie. It helped, but wasn't really necessary.

If you're not familiar with the story, there is a little orphan girl named Sophie who spots The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) roaming around the streets of England. To prevent her from telling other human beans, the BFG kidnaps her away from the orphanage and takes her to Giant Country. The two lonely souls bond as she learns of his job as a dreamcatcher. The BFG has to hide Sophie from the meaner giants of the land and eventually turns to the queen of England for help in ridding the land of the mean giants.
The movie is available in IMAX 3D which is the version we saw. If you have the opportunity to see that version, it seems to be well worth it to get a full grasp of the size of their world.

Having not read the book myself, I wasn't sure what to expect in the movie. I can't vouch for the authenticity to the book, but from what I've heard from others, director Steven Spielberg did a fantastic job of bringing the book to life with the CGI/live-action hybrid nature of the filming.

The stars of the show are Sophie, played by English actress Ruby Barnhill, and the title character, played by Mark Rylance. I stress Ruby as English because she has a strong Midlands English accent which is perfect for the story. The giant has his own language, dubbed Gobblefunk. In a previous post I wrote about the Gobblefunk Glossary. You'll hear words like phizzwizards (happy dreams), frobscottle (a fizzy drink where the bubble go downwards instead of up), and whizpopper (fart), but more on that later.
The story runs through a gamut of emotions between the two characters. It starts with fear when she is first kidnapped, where Sophie thinks the giant is a cannibal. They develop a friendship after accepting they're both alone in their different worlds. There are scenes of happiness, awe, wonder, courage, humor, and a few others to boot.

One emotion worth mentioning is fear, which brings up an important thing about the movie. How young of a child is appropriate to see the movie? There is the initial kidnapping of Sophie, talk of giants eating children, and a dream sequence where they actually do. For the eight-to-ten crowd, they'll probably be okay with the story. Any younger though, I'd remind them before seeing the movie that everything comes out fine in the end. But, they still might get scared during the movie.
Humor brings us to a favorite scene of the movie. Pictured above is the queen about to drink some frobscottle. As mentioned earlier, the bubbles go down in the drink. So, instead of bubbles causing burping, it, well... has other effects with some monster whizpoppers. The whole audience breaks out in tremendous laughter, young and old alike, as everyone from the humans to animals react to the drink. The kids will remember the movie from that one scene alone.

Overall, rated PG, there are some levels of scariness in the movie that might not be appropriate just yet for the youngest crowd. Otherwise, both parents and children alike will love how the Roald Dahl story has been brought to life, whether they read the book or not.


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