The BFG (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The BFG</strong> (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) While The BFG was a box-office disappointment, I think it will modestly endure as a decent family movie thanks to some solid directing from Steven Spielberg: He’s been making popular entertainment for so long that he gives the impression of being able to direct them on autopilot and still deliver the same level of quality. Here, his roving camera once again takes centre stage as he tells the story of a young girl and her Big Friendly Giant friend as they fight against less friendly giants. The queen, and then the British military eventually get involved. I’m not going to pretend that The BFG is a hidden gem: there are some basic issues with the film that hold it back—notably the somewhat repulsive character design, non-jolly discussion of children being eaten, some uncanny-valley issues in presenting almost-human CGI characters, the exasperating malapropisms and many of the cheaper jokes. On the other hand, the direction is superb, the special effects are very well done, and the film’s second half becomes wilder and wilder in terms of plotting and incidents. Newest Spielberg muse Mark Rylance is quite good as the titular BFG, while Ruby Barnhill sustains a lot of attention as the teenage protagonist. Meanwhile, my inexplicable crush on Rebecca Hall continues unabated thanks to a minor but solid supporting role. While there isn’t much to the film’s plot, the wall-to-wall special effects are used wisely to heighten the fairy-tale nature of the film and create characters from motion-capture technology. Considering The BFG‘s disappointing box-office returns, it’s likely that we won’t see anything similar for a while … so let’s appreciate what we’ve got.

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