WARNING! SPOILERS WITHIN!
Recently I reviewed the first part of the live action adaptation of Japan’s Attack On Titan franchise, which is about man-eating giants, and I’ve also recently reviewed Dreamscape, which is a science fiction flick about controlling other people’s dreams. In Steven Spielberg’s live action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, The BFG, both of these concepts are merged, though in the case of the dreams, the movie isn’t about controlling another’s dream but on one level it’s about the origin of dreams, an angle I wasn’t aware of when I first heard of this movie.
And speaking of first hearing of this movie I had no clue it was based on anything Dahl had written, all I came across was a short mention about Spielberg’s next movie being called, The BFG, which may in some small matter account for, perhaps, why it didn’t catch on with audiences. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see these three letters—BFG—put together I instantly think of Big Fucking Gun, and you can thank Doom (2005) for that. So, when I heard this was what Spielberg’s next flick was called, I naturally thought it might be some kind of science fiction action adventure. But then when they eventually revealed the first poster I still thought it was some scifi-thing, maybe about a Giant with a big fucking gun, which is a pretty weird image to have in one’s head. I wonder know how many other people thought it had something to do with a Big Fucking Gun too?
At any rate I didn’t have any desire to see it; I didn’t even watch the trailer when it hit the net. I only took in the trailer when I had an opportunity to review the disc and that’s when I got interested in it. Honestly, it looked good and it reminded me of Jack The Giant Slayer (2013), which is the only other big-budget U.S. movie about giants I can think of that’s come out in the last several years. I liked Jack The Giant Slayer too. Enjoyed the hell of The BFG as well!
Not being all that acquainted with Roald Dahl I had to look him just now to see what else other than The Witches (1990) he wrote that got made into a film and I had no idea he was behind the creation of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Speaking of The Witches, Warner Brothers really needs to give that one a blu-ray release!
In The BFG, which stands for Big Friendly Giant, Giant Country exists and Giants have been around for as long as the world has. They didn’t start out being man-eaters, but they “evolved” into them, favoring the flesh of children the most. The movie focuses on the one giant that isn’t a man-eater, who the others call, “runt,” all the time because even though he’s a giant, he’s actually the smallest one of them, with his “brothers” being a lot bigger and a lot less educated. BFG (voiced by Mark Rylance) had a friend at one time, a human, male child who taught him how to speak, even though is speech is more than a little “off” at times, but he met a gruesome end one day by the other giants. When it’s day in Giant County it’s night in our world and that’s when the giants creep into our towns and cities and pluck children from their beds at night and eat them. BFG has a different job, he’s responsible for giving human’s their dreams. And every night he comes over to our realm and implants all kinds of dreams into our heads with his dream blower.
This is how he meets Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), she’s a little girl in an orphanage in England who has insomnia. It’s around 3 a.m. when she hears something out on the street that gets her to come to the window and catch a glimpse of this giant hand picking up a garbage can. BFG sees that she sees him and kidnaps her because he thinks if he doesn’t, she’ll tell others and people will come after them in Giant Country. And back in his home he refuses to let her go, she’ll have to live here with him for the rest of his life. She calls him BFG because, I guess, he doesn’t have a name, nor does he ever offer one to her, but simply accepts the moniker of Big Friendly Giant.
He shows Sophie what he does for a living and how he has to catch dreams before implanting them in our heads. They exist in a strange dimension underneath this lake where the reflection of the land above is very different. Both dive into the water and end up in the other dimension where dreams flit and fly and around like multi-colored fireflies, Nightmares exist here too and they are red balls of energy. BFG catches them with a net like he’s catching insects, puts them in bottles and brings them to another part of his home where he stores and turns them into dreams. Turning them into the final product is like making a meal, pieces of dreams are assembled together to make all kinds of odd narratives. He then loads them into this makeshift trumpet-like device and blows them into the bedrooms of those who are sleeping. The fly around the room and go right into our mouths and noses and, voila, we have a dream!
The movie is kind of a day-in-a-life-of BFG, with his harassment by the other giants the main obstacle he has to overcome. This is when the humans get involved and the movie falls into a weird kind of tone, because she and BFG concoct a plan to get these giants out of Giant Land, they go to the Queen for help, so now you’ve got humans (namely the Queen and her servants) interacting and meeting this Big Friendly Giant. I get the impression this flick takes place in the 80s, for there’s a scene of the Queen calling the U.S. and speaking to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
This all culminates in a very surreal scene of the military invading Giant Land, capturing these man-eaters and carrying them off in nets via helicopters to an island in our world where they can live.
I thought the CGI was really top notch, and I did get absorbed into the plot! From what I understand this movie tanked this summer in the U.S. Highly unusual for a Steven Spielberg directed movie, but it happened regardless. I personally consider it a winner and urge you all to seek it out.
This November 29 Walt Disney Studios releases The BFG in solo DVD and DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy editions! Buy it here at Amazon!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.39:1 high definition widescreen—7.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 2.0 English Descriptive Audio, 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital, 5.1 French Dolby Digital—English SDH, Spanish, French subs only.
Extras included . . .
- Bringing “The BFG” to Life (27:09) Blu-ray Exclusive
- The Big Friendly Giant and Me (1:55) Blu-ray Exclusive
- Giants 101 (4:57) Blu-ray Exclusive
- Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG (3:16)
- Melissa Mathison: A Tribute (5:54)