I’ve read The BFG to my children twice, and of all of the Roald Dahl stories, it’s my favorite. Thankfully, Steven Spielberg must love it, too, because he delivered it in theatrical form this summer. Unfortunately, it didn’t do as well as expected, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a magical, heartwarming tale that will delight the whole family.
When the BFG kidnaps Sophie (Rudy Barnhill), a beautiful friendship is formed. Sophie encourages the BFG to fight off the bullying of his bigger, meaner compatriots like Fleshlumpeater (Jermaine Clement), the Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), the Butcherboy (Michael Adamthwaite), and the Bonecruncher (Daniel Bacon). The BFG allows Sophie to see her own worth and beauty as someone special (as an orphan, she’s left to fend for herself). And then, of course, there’s the mission the two complete that makes the story great.
Dahl specialized at finding the everyman in every orphan he wrote about. He shaped characters who were misfits and leftouts who became heroes in their own time. Dahl’s stories – and especially this one – remind us not to judge books by their cover, but to also recognize the value in the smallest, the slowest, the most insecure. The BFG reminds us that we all have gifts and we can all add to the community we’re in. Unfortunately, while Dahl’s story is beautiful, it’s also not that speedy in its trajectory. The film fills in some spots, but still drags at times. Thankfully, it’s visually captivating enough that kids (and adults who love the story) will hang in there.
Walt Disney’s special features on the Blu-ray combo pack include the making of featurette guided by Barnhill, while the various renamed pieces of Dahl’s world is explored in “Gobblefunk: The Wonderful World of The BFG.” The fearsome villains of the story get their own feature in “Giants 101” with Clement, Hader, and the others. The addition of a tribute to Melissa Mathieson gives special notice to the screenwriter behind this second film adaptation, who adapted The Black Stallion and wrote Spielberg’s E.T.