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The BFG (2016)

Released:  Friday, July 1, 2016  
Length:  117 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Family
Rating: The BFG is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.

The BFG Synopsis

The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.

Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows. But Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Says Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see Queen Victoria (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.

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The BFG images are © Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

The BFG Blu-ray Review

The setting starts in an eerie looking orphanage on a dark, city street.  A little girl wrapped in a blanket talks about the witching hour when people go missing.  The brick buildings and cobblestone roads on a night when it's clearly rained, with a dark sky and birds flying overhead, set the stage for an impending dark and deep story.   Disney absolutely knows how to bring Ronald Dahl's book "The BFG" to life, by ensuring that they had the best director at telling a children's story for adults directing it, Steven Spielberg (E.T.), who also co-produced the movie.  From the very beginning, Spielberg captivates his audience, as the curiosity of adults and children are piqued from the very onset of the film.

The BFG is a story about a spunky little girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who is torn away from the orphanage by a giant.  She thinks she's been captured by a monster when big friendly Giant "BFG" (Mark Rylance; Bridge of Spies) explains that she was taken to stop her from telling the whole world that she was a Giant.  When she threatens to run away, BFG tries to explain that the bad Giants would come after her.   The stage is set- BFG is clearly a lonely Giant- willing to talk and explain things to his new little companion.  Sophie soon realizes that BFG is not the monster she thought.  She realizes that he is friendly and lonely and an outcast from the Giants because he won't eat humans like the rest of the Giants.  BFG introduces Sophie to his work - the magic of Dream Country, where he collects dreams and gives them to children. 

BFG possesses a kind and caring heart and soul and it's impossible not to fall in love with the way Rylance voices him and creates the character.  Dahl developed his characters well and Melissa Mathison, who wrote the screenplay, carried the obvious relationship forward continuing the easiness between the characters.  Watching the caring relationship develop between BFG  and Sophie is like watching two people fall in love-magical and like a fantasy.  When BFG feels like Sophie is in danger from the bad Giants, he takes her back home, to the orphanage, and you realize that despite the unorthodox relationship between the two, Sophie has found her forever home.  Soon, it's BFG - with Sophie by his side-  against the bad Giants.  The two embark on a quest to London to ask Queen (Penelope Wilton; Downtown Abbey) to help them rid the world of bad Giants, once and for all.  But, there's a catch- they must convince the Queen that Giants do exist and the interaction between Royalty and the simple Giant is quietly funny.

The Blu-ray and digital download include bonus features not seen before in theaters.  

  • Bringing The BFG to Life:  Listen to Ruby Barnhill, who pleads Sophie, share her experiences filming the movie, through video diaries.  Spielberg also provides insight into how the film was made from beginning to end.
  • The Big Friendly Giant and Me: Almost two minutes of animated telling of The BFG story
  • Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of the BFG:  Learn the unique vocabulary of the Giants that no one taught you in school. 
  • Giants 10: How the Nine Giants were cast and animated
  • Melissa Mathieson: A Tribute: screenwriter Mathieson passed away and included in a tribute in memory of the late screenwriter. 

The Blu-ray is presented in MPEG-4 AVC with a 1080p resolution.  The aspect ratio is 2.39:1.  The blues of the night sky were brilliant and the dreams fluttering in the glasses were breathtaking.  All this, contrasted with the gloominess of the night sky when the bad Giants were seen, provided a stunning visual effect of foreboding.  What was stunning was that the combination of the live Sophie and animation of BFG and his world, is flawless in its presentation.   The  DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 provides clear and crisp audio.  The music blends well and does not overpower the dialogue. 

It's hard to tell in what year the story takes place. At first, it seems like an old-fashioned tale, but there are cars on the street- some that look like very early models to ones that look like the early 1980's, which would fit in with Dahl's writing.    It seems like this is a story that should have taken place in the late 1800's or early 1900's- the tie of magic and fantasy - before the world become such a hard place to live.   Clearly, not a flaw with Disney or Spielberg, it's more of a comment on Dahl's setting, itself.  

The BFG was not a box office hit in the US.  With the combination of Disney and Spielberg, it is unclear what went wrong.  The film is a little on the lengthy side, but it flows and doesn't seem to stall at any point.  For small children, though, I can see them getting antsy.  This is such a family friendly movie and caters to every age group that, despite some issues, The BFG Blu-ray belongs in every household.  

Grade: A


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  • 12/9/2015 1:33 PM EST


    The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall...
  • 4/5/2016 11:55 AM EST


    The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall...

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