A plush duvet on a December night is not as warm as Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG. The story centers on Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a ten-year-old orphan in London, who in “The Witching Hour” is scooped up from the balcony of her orphanage by a Giant (Mark Rylance) who takes her to Giant Country. After a bit of conversation, shot fluidly in long takes, Sophie gathers that while this Giant is prone to solecism, he means no harm—he’s actually a vegetarian—unlike his bigger, meaner, people-eating associates (Jermaine Clement, Bill Hader). The rest of the movie is a visually dazzling hang-out with adorable Sophie and the precious Giant; there are digressions and most of the scenes breathe. Slightly reminiscent of the Harry Potter score, John Williams’s score for The BFG is captivating. Adapted from the novel by the late E.T. scriptwriter Melissa Mathison The BFG may disappoint fans of the book who find the movie a sanitized version of the original, for example: leaving out jokes about the way different nationalities taste. Neither of us had read the novel, so we had no great expectations. But in a season of plot-driven, action-oriented blockbusters, this movie was a welcome departure from all that. And watching it in IMAX 3D we were stunned by the effect that even manufactured emotions can have.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White