The BFG Parent Review
The dangers depicted here would be quite terrifying in real life, but because of the buffoonish nature of them in the movie, it is hard to take them very seriously.
According to Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), the witching hour is 3AM—and she should know because the insomniac is the only human awake at such an early time of the morning. One night while wandering around the orphanage in the dark, the ten-year-old hears something go bump in the night. Against her better judgement, she curiously goes to investigate. And that is when she spots an unusually tall character skulking around the streets. Unfortunately, he sees her too!
The next thing Sophie knows she is being snatched out of bed, where she had run to hide under the covers, and taken on a long journey to a mysterious location. It is not until she arrives at her destination that the frightened child gets a good look at her kidnaper (Mark Rylance), who claims to be a BFG—Big Friendly Giant. Certainly, the avowed vegetarian does appear less menacing once his even larger, man-eating neighbors catch a whiff of Sophie’s presence.
Thus begins Sophie’s adventure in the Land of the Giants where she and (surprisingly) the BFG will face death threats, harrowing chases and escapes, bullying and verbal abuse, and intimidating social situations. Along the way, the script discusses neglect, loneliness, nightmares, and mentions the death of another human being who met his demise at the hands (or perhaps I should say mouths) of the beastly cannibals. Although these dangers would be quite terrifying in real life, the buffoonish nature of these depictions makes it hard to take them very seriously.
Based on children’s novel, director Steven Spielberg brings this fantasy to life in spectacular fashion thanks to the magic of CGI and motion capture technology. Ironically, that is also the biggest flaw with the whole production—it gets lost amidst the all of the visual imagery and special effects. Meanwhile the plot meanders through a bedazzling Land of Dreams, a formal visit to Buckingham Palace, and preoccupies itself with prolonged flatulence jokes.
Too scary for little ones and too tedious for older audiences, the BFG likely won’t harm family viewers, but it may not charm them either.Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Ruby Barnhill, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance . Running time: 118 minutes. Updated October 17, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The BFG here.
The BFG Parents Guide
How do outward appearances influence the way we see others? What conclusions does Sophie come to about The BFG? What do the bigger and tougher giants assume about him? What can you do to help you judge others more fairly?
In the movie, characters visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace. What manners and social graces are expected when in the presence of a monarch? How does the story use the audiences’ understanding of this formal behavior to create humor? If you were invited to visit the Queen or another dignitary, how would you behave?
Part of this movie was shot in the Faroe Islands, an isolated and remote part of the world. After looking at some pictures of this rocky landmass, can you identify what scenes were filmed there?