I don’t know what to make of the BFG. I’d give it a 7 out of 10 if you asked, but with a lot of caveats. For the kids, it’s a winner. Everyone else should be cautious with their cash.
For the short, short version; if you have kids who are able to sit still for certain quite long movies, and they like movies like The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, then you may have an excellent movie to take them to.
On the other hand, personally, it was a bit long-winded in places and the action takes a lot of meandering constitutionals on the way to the end of the main plot.
I’m not sure I can recommend it to the very young as it’s about two hours long (it may be less, I’m not sure how long the adverts were before it), and the teens out there will almost certainly be too old to find it amazingly enjoyable… but if you’ve got a child in that magical sweet spot of somewhere between 7 and 14 where they’re able to sit still for what is admittedly a gorgeous movie with plenty of that wonderment that people like to go on about, then you might have found their new favourite movie for the summer (at least until secret life of pets comes out).
This movie starts off with barely a pause for breath, when the little girl in the poster is captured by the titular big friendly giant, also in the poster. And then it takes plenty of breathers from the main plot as it shows you around the incredible sets and masterfully fulfilled world of giants, magic, dreams and monsters.
If you’ve seen this old English cartoon…
… then you know the plot of the new movie, more or less. I can’t remember the actual story of the older cartoon, I believe I own the book but read it years ago and have no idea where any of the movies differ from the book, though I do believe both are relatively faithful.
Whilst there are a few spots where the CG becomes painfully obvious, it’s probably because we’ve become so used to top notch effects that it’s even really noticeable when it falls down a bit. It’s a lovely, sweet, colourful movie with some amazing visuals and a decent story.
The acting was a bit so-so at times (never bad, truly I’d call it an upmarket BBC production in feel – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever seen the respectable efforts of The Snowman and the aforementioned Gruffalo), and the way the child is just totally okay with being kidnapped by a giant speaks of a bygone age of kids’ stories that weren’t afraid of having little kids just go with the flow, and the movie never really has that massive denouement that more action-oriented movies have. So don’t go into a movie about giants and catching dreams expecting realism, okay? And don’t expect it to be Last Action Hero or something. It isn’t, it’s a visually stunning fairy tale written in that 60’s-80’s style that you just don’t get any more, and I’m quite frankly surprised that it came out as honest it did. I dare say it would have suffered had it been ‘Americanized’ like so many other British films and stories have been.
It’s a refreshing change in some ways, and if you’re at all cautious about taking your kids to movies because you don’t want bad influences affecting them, then the worst thing you’ll have to put up with is them giggling their little hearts out at the whiz-popper scene.
If you can’t tell though, I don’t know whether to recommend you spend money on it at the movies, or just rent/buy it for your home collection. You should definitely see it, definitely, it’s bound to become a movie many people will love and cherish, so if you’re prepared to put up with a movie which is 100% for the kids, then it’s perfect. It’s also good for the soppy people like me who just want to watch something from times long past, but I am also sure that there are plenty of people who will walk out of the theatre regretting their purchase.