BFG Movie Review

I finally saw Spielberg’s fantasy film BFG, which is based on a 1982 novel by novelist Roald Dahl. We rarely get high quality imaginative fantasy films for kids like this now so it was great to finally see Spielberg’s vision.

I would give the BFG film a 7 out of 10 for its imaginative and fantastic qualities, it’s rich visuals and fantasy world, its avoidance of typical “mean spiritedness” and violence, and it’s kind hearted characters. BFG also touches on old world Western Mythology which is rarer and rarer in films now. It’s refreshing to see someone explore giants and giant-world as a theme. I especially like the tree of dreams and the idea that a magic pool forms a gateway to the tree. (I have some of the same in my novels).

My complaint is more about the story than film. When the girl is taken to BFG’s giant world, it’s disappointing to see her return to this world and try and solve the plot conflict via the queen. I think that’s what killed the story for me. When you take us to the Land of Imagination it open up huge vistas of opportunity to go really deep with the fantastic. I just think the story fell flat the second half of the movie and all the fancy CG couldn’t save it…..much like what happened to Peter Jackson’s Hobbit.

When are we going to learn that CGI can’t make movies. It needs human beings and original scripting. So many movies have flopped over and over because of that same issue the past 10 years.

I would have liked to have BFG go deeper into giant land, maybe visit a Giants castle or kingdom, then adventure even deeper into the world with conflicts with mystical monsters and challenges until they find the dream tree. Maybe dreams are more than just lights in jars but real creatures with personalities. And maybe the evil giants all have good and bad sides and develop into sub plots. I’m thinking Peter Pan characterizations.

There’s lots of opportunity in fantasy movies to develop heart and soul, character, and imagination beyond computer graphics and slapstick humor. But it feels like teenage themes hold back the adult ideas often offered up in fantasy film today. They suffer from their severe immaturity as if our kids can’t comprehend conflict, sacrifice, friendship, loss, and adult conversations.

I think until they start taking seriously the scripts beyond teenage themes, and embrace fully the inherent Mythology implied in these films (poorly developed/half hatched ideas), we won’t see any truly blockbuster fantasy films.

– the Author


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