Film Review: “The BFG” Starring Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill
Playing the role of that new friend, Rylance displays his versatility well. After garnering much deserved acclaim for his phenomenal role in Bridge of Spies, he’s very well-cast as a gentle giant, lacking a formal education, but intelligent enough to learn quickly. He mangles his English a bit in an adorable way, and as their friendship progresses, he shares his profession of a dreamcatcher/dream sharer in a gorgeously-rendered scene.
Speaking of the visuals, the entire movie is for the most part top-notch. There are some issues with the way the BFG is rendered moving and running around, but the visual effects of the dreams flying around, along with the sequence that leads up to the BFG and Ruby attempting to capture them, are absolutely stunning. Rylance (and the other, more malevolent, giants) lend their likeness to their CGI characters, and the effects are somewhat convincing. They’re not perfect, but they won’t take you out of the element of the film.
In the end, the result is a fine, and at times hilarious, romp through a fantastical England. Most of the humor is decidedly juvenile, but there are enough funny moments that parents and adults will probably find themselves laughing out loud. I’ve been told that the Dahl novel has some dark moments, but for the most part there aren’t too many moments that might give a young audience pause. Jermaine Clement and Bill Hader feature as the main antagonists, and while they’re menacing, they’re also imperfect to a point that they, too, lend a bit to the comedic element.
It’s fun, it’s beautiful, and it’s amusing enough that people of all ages will get a kick out of the script. If there’s any drawback to it, I felt that it ran a little longer than necessary, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the film. Barnhill does an excellent job in her starring debut, but it truly is Rylance’s titular character that steals the show. If you’re looking for another summer film to take the kids to after seeing Finding Dory, you could do much worse than The BFG.
The BFG gets a B+.