I'm a big Dahl fan, and Spielberg's movies are most honest when they center on a lonely child, so the bad buzz didn't faze me and the idea of an old-fashioned kids film was enticing. The question remains, though, whether an old-fashioned kids movie can exist when bombast is a prereq, even here. You have to watch this movie as a gleaner, sifting through for the keepers. As ever, Spielberg's secret weapon is lyricism.
**1/2. Steven Spielberg comes 30 years too late with this Roald Dahl's adaptation. The audience for such a film doesn't exist anymore. It's not Spielberg's fault. A DVD to offer to your grandparents but NOT to your children.
Spielberg has a very methodical approach to the visual, and I can think of no recent movie that seems so much like an expert and literal translation of a very smart storyboard directly to the screen. What cannot be accounted for entirely by adherence to storyboard, however, is the role motion plays here (both of the camera and of characters within the mise-en-scène). And the whole thing is as sweet as it ought to be.
Mark Rylance is a scene-stealer with his distinctive, heavily enunciated vocals, and the film is a dazzling visual spectacle all the way through (leave it to Steven Spielberg to finally find how to make motion capture animation watchable and attractive). Would be a more memorable and commendable effort if the film, however, wasn't quick to start but slow and fairly messy to move after that.
Refreshingly optimistic, gentle, old-fashioned, and tender. Nowadays only Spielberg can make a film like this. That being said, the film is tainted by Spielberg's blind belief in authority and his conservatism as well as his poor ability to dramatize himself. Still, a very good film.
A near complete disaster, if it wasn't for Mark Rylance's touching rendition of the giant. The film itself is noisy, visually aggressive (the Disney sauce), vulgar and cheap. Spielberg lost me at the fart jokes. First time i'm objective about one of his films, I think.
I don't think one ever reaches an age where children movies stop being moving or funny (or both); yet, as much as I enjoyed the hour and something that I spent with BFG, it didn't thrill me as much as I was anticipating ever since the moment I first watched the trailer. There was something that wasn't captivating me, even though Sophie was amazing and I just love me some brave, endearing female protagonists.
Steven Spielberg's latest is a sweet, gently paced tribute to childhood fantasy, and a fitting swan song for screenwriter Melissa Mathison, whose screenplay achieves that rare feat of adding new material that helps the film's narrative without contradicting what made the book such a huge success.
The BFG is also the subject of my first ever film podcast, which you can listen to on www.filmsofeverycolour.com