Director: Steven Spielberg
Story: Roald Dahl
Screenplay: Melissa Mathison
Review Author: Adam
Rating: 3.5/5 cans of Guinness
This isn’t a beer goggles or even a drunken write up as cinemas aren’t too fond of me getting drunk in a kids movie apparently.
Admittedly, I went into this movie with my dickhead glasses on ready to rip it apart and comment on my fears that they would ‘Disney up’ one of my beloved childhood classics that taught me ‘sometimes it’s ok to get kidnapped and wander around with strange men’. A nice big friendly slap in the face was delivered when I decided to grow up, enjoy my popcorn and stop trying to be a critic, just be a fan…the reason I started doing this.
I was grumbling about the lack of depth the film initially has in the story and some of the choices the director made that pulled it slightly away from the original story but that all went away when the film unwraps to be a very well made and pleasant piece. In that lies the reason I was skeptical about the film- If I see one of my childhood classics being dragged out of the grave onto the screen again I assume it’s a cash grab for my generation…but it’s not, I’m just a dick, it’s a film to introduce the younger generation to the stories I loved, and I can’t take that away from anyone. It’s a good film but slightly toned down a bit compared to some of the terror the book presents us with.
Go and watch this movie to see a story visually play out in the way it did in your head when it was being read to you as a child, don’t go to see it the way I did, to fuel your skepticism and give you something to moan about and scream out the cliched ‘they’re ruining the classics!’ as we all get so used to doing lately.
I’m a happy drunk today, a happy drunk because of the beautiful visuals this movie gives. The giant is an absolute feast for the eyes against the droopy and gloomy London backdrop and they really nailed the whole ‘gentle giant’ thing. But the single most awe inspiring visuals this movie delivered is the dream catching sequence. They personified dreams as these entities that fly around like glowing lit up butterflies around a mystic tree, only accessible by giants underneath an ethereal tree hidden under a lake. An amazing serenity and peace descends over all scenes with the dreams present thanks to a great score that suddenly gets dark and ominous in the presence of bad dreams that show up in the form of wasp like light orbs there to attack and ruin lives.
In terms of important messages, I think parents who may be hesitant about the value this movie gives to ‘following strangers’ is overshadowed by the message of understanding bad dreams and bad feelings and knowing that you can be in control of them. That’s heavily impressed upon you as the BFG is brought out of his comfort zone by Sophie as she teaches him how to use the bad dreams to work for him.
The voice and lunatic quasi-illiterate ramblings of the giant gets a bit hard to stomach after a while and the novelty wears off the way he speaks rather fast. That’s one of the few things that didn’t translate from written to visual form very well, but it has its moments. After soaking up the editing, pacing and use of colour it’s no shock to see Spielberg’s name in the credits. It’s one of the few films I would feel comfortable bringing one of my nieces or nephew to as it is familiar enough for me to bask in nostalgia and a good enough timeless story for them to be introduced to.
This film did make me very excited to see what I interpret from the marketing to be a much darker version of this concept, Liam Neeson’s ‘A Monster Calls’. Should we do a comparison? Am I missing the mark? Let us know on Twitter @ReelTimeDublin.
Nice review. I know some critics and moviegoers didn’t like this movie, but I did. It wasn’t the absolute best in both Spielberg’s work and in Dahl’s adaptations, but it had heart, some great visuals, and some great performances (especially in Rylance).