Not every author translates well to the big screen. Most movies based on Jane Austen’s novels aren’t very good; same with Stephen King and Mark Twain, not to mention that Shakespeare guy. But there’s something special about Roald Dahl. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is obviously a childhood classic, but don’t overlook Danny DeVito’s whimsical Matilda, Henry Selick’s visually spectacular James and the Giant Peach, and Wes Anderson’s clever Fantastic Mr. Fox. As for the bright abomination that is Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, never happened.
The next director to take a stab at the Dahl oeuvre is Steven Spielberg with The BFG. It’s actually the second film adaptation of the book, about a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young girl, but the first that’s a mix of live-action and CGI (the other, released in 1989, is animated). Two things are immediately striking in the teaser trailer: The BFG is the rare Spielberg film with a female main character, and it looks like his Hugo. If it’s half as good as that movie, it’ll still be great. Here’s the official plot synopsis.
The BFG tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. 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. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
This movie has EVERYTHING: Bill Hader, giants, Snozzcumbers…