Sunday, August 21, 2016

Movie Review: THE BFG

Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), an orphan girl, encounters the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) one night in London. He takes her to his home in Giant Land and, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kind-hearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.

Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest filmmakers there is no doubt about that. Ever since The Terminal though I have found it hard to fully enjoy a picture of his, Bridge of Spies being definitely the best one, yet still leaving me slightly cold. Here however, I was presented with an absolute disaster of a film, which proved to be so hurtful knowing from where it was coming, there was no heads nor tails to be made out of the mess I experienced.

The only merits I can really attribute to the film is that it's not nasty or mean in any way, its heart is in a good place even if that is not really a saving element when there is no morality to your story. Visiually, the film is remarkable, the combination of practical and CGI is really seamless, much more so than Spielberg's past efforts. Moreover, as always, we get a distinct visual world and there are many shots in the film that are as complicated and brilliant as they are technically advanced. Yet, even that, in the eyes of this mess of a story, proved to be quite a useless feature.

Where to start to point out what isn't working in a film where story-wise nothing is working? I mean right from the opening sequence of the film I had no idea what was going on. The whole first act was cut into the first 90 seconds. We aren't shown who Sophie is, we don't get to know her and we are already experiencing her adventure, but there is absolutely no conflict whatsoever. The BFG moreover proves to be the most adorable giant ever, right from the moment we see him, once again proving there is absolutely no conflict.

We are then presented with an extravaganza of story disaster when about three different plots are weaved together into a senseless mess. First we're into this whole dream story-line, then we are fighting giants and then finally we go where? To the Queen? I could not believe my eyes. But that's not even the worst part. We are served a full 15-minute sequence were Sophie and the BFG are served breakfast. I am not joking. We spend a full 15-minutes in this totally ridiculous scene with zero character beats. I was almost starting to get offended.

There is no correlation to what is going on on-screen. It is just random events happening one after the other, which are supposed to feel sweat and fairy-tale-like solely because we have John Williams playful score playing in the background. I mean there is no moral, no thematic undertaking the film does, no character goes on a journey of change especially because we aren't shown these people in a situation that's different from where the conflict is supposed to be. What we end up with is visual noise that can be as pretty and advanced as you want, but when we are in the hands of a headache-inducing mess of story, I just checked out.

The BFG is right up there with one of Spielberg's worst films for me and unfortunately, one of the worst of the year. I strongly recommend staying away from this pretentious and honestly offensive family film which was void of any kind of substance.

James's Score: 4/10

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