Reviews: The BFG

Exactly what it promised

Roald Dahl is known for the wildly successful story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the equally successful (but less well known) Matilda, but the fact is that Dahl was vastly displeased with the version featuring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and not really happy with how Matilda turned out either. Well, I think itís safe to say that he would not have nearly as much trouble with this surprisingly faithful adaptation to his other best seller, The BFG.

The BFG actually follows the story of the original novel very closely. There are a few additions that donít do much to improve the story, but it does pad out the film without it causing any harm either. Most of the scenes and dialog in this movie are lifted directly from the book and transferred well onto the screen.

Speaking of being on the screen, all the characters are spot-on perfection in their looks. All the giants look great, the BFG looks great, Sophie looks great, they even managed to get the look of the Queen of England to be a good blend of Roald Dahlís original drawing and the actual Queen Elizabeth. Sophieís personality was altered a little bit to be more of a strong-willed protagonist, and the BFG himself is actually well acted in both voice and animation. The villains are kind of one dimensional, but the film is following the classic portrayal of Giants and theyíre actually given plenty of screen time to even this out.

There are nitpicky things that could have been improved. The story dragged at several places and moved a little slow, but went too fast at the parts that I would have loved to see more. The CGI for the giants isnít the best, and itís most noticeable in the climax of the film, but itís at least passable and it managed to capture the look and imagination that came from the original story. The humor is rather lacking, though to be fair a lot of the jokes are directly from the book. The darker elements and concepts of the book have been downsized for a more lighthearted fantasy. Last but not least, the 3D is woefully underutilized. Being in a world of Giants meant that the people behind the 3D and CGI work could have had a field day of making the world seem, well, gigantic to the eyes of the viewer. But save for a few key scenes, they went with very average cinematography and staging so the 3D was a total waste of money.

This movie is not a groundbreaking masterpiece, but it was never intended to be one. It was described as a whimsical adventure full of fantasy and wonder, displaying a world of imagination and heart that only the combined talents of Roald Dahl and Stephen Spielberg could have given us. And it delivers exactly that. It could have been a little better, but it could have been far, far worse. I can see this movie quickly becoming a cult classic right next to the original Chocolate Factory film and Matilda.

Solid 8/10, I recommend going to see it.