I went to see The BFG this weekend and it was such a disappointment, not the movie but rather the number of people in the theater. This was one of the best adaptations of a Roald Dahl novel and to have only a handful of people in the theater was such a shame. It really was a magical movie that is lost to this generation.
The BFG, written by Roald Dahl in 1982 and directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, is the only book by Dahl that hasn’t been made into a feature film previously. 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.
The visuals in this movie are stunning and it really shows Dahl’s great combination of humor and heart in his stories. Spielberg was the ideal director for this movie and it shows. Mark Rylance is brilliant as the BFG and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie steals the show. It was a beautiful, magical adventure that brought me back to my youth. Roald Dahl was one of the first authors I let my children read because he is such a wonderful storyteller.
This brings me back to my opening statement. Kids, and even parents, today flock to Finding Dory instead of The BFG. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Pixar movies, but to see a classic like The BFG ignored for a talking fish is sad. This generation is so hung up on movies, television, the internet, and video games that they all but ignore reading such great stories. It’s only because of technology today that movies can bring these stories to life. Watching The BFG made me want to read the book again, to bring back the magic from long ago.
That’s the beauty of books. They are timeless because their words will go on forever. People have tried to ban books and burn books, to erase them from history (like you see in The Book Thief, which I watched again this weekend, loved it). It’s just a shame that more people are not going to see this movie. It has some beautiful moments that will make you cry and others that will have you rolling on the ground laughing (one word, frobscottle)!
I think any author today would love to have their books turned into a movie or TV show. By supporting movies like The BFG, we’re supporting our own interests as authors. There are too many remakes out there, so it’s refreshing when a book inspires a great movie. So please take the time and go and see The BFG. It will be well worth it.