Last year I did not get around to watching Disney’s The BFG in theaters, but finally, Netflix is streaming this whimsical movie. I think in my mind I was expecting it to be very similar to Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and that may have been why I passed up on the movie last year.
The BFG (big friendly giant for those who are unaware) takes place in a much more imaginative world than Pete’s Dragon (2016). The BFG, inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, just might be entertaining enough to captivate a child’s imagination with its large world and giant sized character. The BFG himself is silly but lovable and his world is filled with fun giant oddities. Unfortunately, the lacking storyline fails to immerse the audience further into the wonderfully odd world of giants.
Quick points of review:
- Mark Rylance does a superb job being the oddly lovable BFG.
- An interesting and captivating world made for giants. The CG seemed a little off at times.
- The film focuses on the world at the expense of storyline.
- The film may be more entertaining for younger viewers and less for adults. It is still a fun watch if you want to see the odd land of giants.
*Spoiler Alert! If you are avoiding spoilers, do not read further. Turn back now. You’ve been warned.*
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a ten-year-old girl who lives in an orphanage and stays up reading most nights because she suffers from insomnia. One night as Sophie is awake she spies a large giant (Mark Rylance) in the dark. The giant then picks Sophie up wrapped in her quilt and brings her to Giant Country.
After the giant sets Sophie down in his home, she watches him and decides to try to escape through the window. She quietly makes her way to the huge window but bumps into giant objects which give away her attempt to escape. The giant stops her from escaping and explains to Sophie she has to stay in the house with him for the rest of her life. Sophie is not supposed to know of his existence and the giant cannot allow her out because the other giants are larger and eat human “beans”.
The giant then places Sophie in the top his boat that he uses as his bed. The giant says he can give her and other people dreams, but Sophie doesn’t believe him and tells him he can’t give her dreams because she suffers from insomnia. Eventually, Sophie falls asleep and the giant gives Sophie a dream to scare her from trying to escape the house.
When Sophie awakens from her dream, a meaner giant, the Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) enters the giant’s home. He is very rude to the smaller giant. Sophie is forced to hide in a vegetable and the Fleshlumpeater nearly eats her until he can be convinced not to eat the vegetable because he doesn’t like to eat such things. The Fleshlumpeater then leaves after a close call for Sophie.
Sophie convinces the giant, who she gives the name BFG for big friendly giant, to bring her to Dream Country. BFG gives Sophie clothes before their journey. Before climbing the hill towards Dream Country, the pair accidentally wakes up the giants. The giants then pick on, tease, and torment BFG. When the giants are done with their tormenting of BFG, Sophie drops her blanket as they make their way up the hill so BFG can catch dreams. A couple of the giants find the blanket and smell “bean” on it and decide they will find the human BFG is hiding from them.
The BFG and Sophie come to a pond and amazingly jump to another side. There are bright lights all around that represent different kinds of dreams. The pair is becoming friends as the BFG teaches Sophie about his job catching and giving dreams. The two visit London to give those asleep dreams.
Sophie lets BFG know that she must have dropped her blanket while the other giants were picking on him. The giant then reveals there was once a boy who he befriended that was caught and eaten by the other giants. BFG decides to leave Sophie back at the orphanage so she will be safe from the other giants. Sophie then jumps from the window and BFG catches her.
Sophie convinces the BFG to let her stay with him even though she knows her safety will be at risk. She wants to stay with her friend and not at the orphanage. The two come back to BFG’s house and the other giants have barged into the home rifling through the giant’s belongings on the hunt for Sophie. Sophie is forced to hide and dodge the giants.
The BFG gets angry with the giants for rampaging through his house and tells them to leave and never come back. While Sophie is hiding from the giants she notices a human-sized bed and a picture of Queen Victoria. Sophie then devises a plan to go to the queen (Penelope Wilton) and ask her for help with the giants.
The BFG and Sophie go to the palace to give the queen a nightmare about the nine giants eating children in London. The queen wakes up and finds Sophie at her window. Sophie introduces the queen to The BFG. The queen agrees to help the two with her military to take the giants to an island where they will not be able to escape or harass BFG ever again.
The BFG leads the military to Giant Country. BFG realizes he left his dream shooter at the queen’s palace during their breakfast and is not sure how to give nightmares to the sleeping giants. Sophie grabs the jar with the nightmare in it and runs into the middle of the giants. As one of the giants wakes up, Sophie bravely breaks the jar of nightmares which then enter all of the giants except for Fleshlumpeater. The military helicopters arrive just in time to pick up the giants and drop them off on a tiny island along with crates of vegetables for food.
After shipping the children eating giants to the island, Sophie is invited to live in the palace and BFG goes back to catching and giving out dreams. The BFG is happy and has a beautiful garden now. Sophie leans out her window at the palace to say good morning to the friendly giant and the giant smiles.
Geeky Talk’s Reaction to the Movie
The BFG creates an interesting and enjoyable world to watch. Giant Country is fun to explore on the big screen and for anyone who has ever wondered what it might be like to be a tiny human among beings so large. The BFG chopping vegetables with a bulldozer blade attached to a handle or a boat used as a bed are just a couple of the interesting items used by the giant. Watching Sophie navigate through all of it adds to the curious world’s whimsy.
The interaction between both BFG and Sophie is touching. Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill did an excellent job with their roles in this movie and explored themes of friendship and loneliness. Rylance brings the BFG to life and does such a marvelous job as a silly giant who bumbles his way through words and becomes Sophie’s lovable friend. Rylance’s wonderful acting just adds to the fun world of giants. I just wish the movie contained more content to further explore the world with.
The lacking story really makes this movie feel longer than it needs to be. While the focus on The BFG’s world is fun to see, it does not make up for the sparse story. There is so much to the giant’s world, but the film fails to explore an in-depth and interesting plot through the use of its creative world building. The BFG has the potential to be an interesting story but the Disney film mostly stays focused on portraying the environment to the audience.
The BFG created an interesting imaginative world, but unfortunately, the CGI used to represent much of the world feels somewhat off. It doesn’t blend well at certain scenes and is jarring at times. Some moments of movement with the giant or when Sophie is on the giant’s shoulder looks unnatural due to the obvious CG. Also, the scene in Buckingham Palace during the breakfast with the queen seemed like an odd fit to the movie. It appeared dated as if it belonged to an older family movie like Beethoven (1992). It’s cute and lighthearted but felt out of place in The BFG.
The BFG is a movie to enjoy with the family, especially if you have younger viewers because of the imaginative world, but it might feel like a slog to those hoping for more story. The BFG is a decent flick despite its flaws. I wouldn’t necessarily give it rave reviews but Mark Rylance’s performance is excellent and gives the audience a fun character to watch.
You can watch The BFG right now on Netflix. Have you seen Disney’s The BFG already? What did you think? What do you think about our review? Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and may all your watches be geeky!