Steven Speilberg's new film called THE BFG is based on a classic children's book by Roald Dahl, and the screenplay is by the woman who wrote E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. And yet the new film is a box office failure.
I'm not too surprised, because THE BFG is one of those films I admire but don't like very much. It's well made and well acted, but it doesn't have near the charm or the emotional pull of E.T.
The motion capture animation and special effects are first rate, and the concept is imaginative, but the story drags and sometimes seems just downright silly.
Sophie: Never get out of bed, never go to the window, never look behind the curtain.
Ruby Barnhill is Sophie, an orphan who gets snatched by a giant played by Oscar winner Mark Rylance.
Sophie: Please don't eat me.
Giant: You think that because I'm a giant that I'm a man gobbling caneable.
It's soon clear that this gangly, eccentric giant is a benign fellow even if he does mangle the English language.
Sophie: Why did you take me?
Giant: I had to take you. Cause the first thing you'd do, you'd be scuttlin' around, yodeling the news that you were actually seeing a giant. And then there'd be a great rumple dumpus, wouldn't there?….You can call me the Big Friendly Giant.
Problem is: there's also some much bigger unfriendly, people-eating giants in the neighborhood and they can smell Sophie.
BFG: Run Sophie! Hide!
Biger Unfriendly Giant: You have a delicious little bean.
After the first of many narrow escapes….
BFG: Those giants would swallow you up like a piece of frumkin fry.
Sophie: It's pumpkin pie, not frumin fry and giggly rafts are giraffe. Crocadile dilly's are crocodiles.
Turns out the friendly giant's job is catching dreams in bottles and then blowing them into the heads of people who are sleeping.
BFG: I hear all the secret whisperings of the world.
This all a little too precious for my tastes; I haven't read the book, but I bet this stuff works a lot better on the page and than on screen. And I got tired of the slapstick and the flatulence jokes.
Still, for the right audience, especially those under ten years old, THE BFG may be the perfect kind of summer entertainment.