Even if you haven’t introduced your kid to the wonderful world of Roald Dahl, it shouldn’t stop you from catching a matinee of the newest Disney flick. The BFG is about a little British girl and a Big Friendly Giant trying to chase evil giants out of England — so basically an unintentional metaphor for Brexit xenophobia.
If your family isn’t getting it on that level, you should also know that it was directed by Steven Spielberg (who you hear is going places) and is being touted as The Big Family Giant this box office weekend. All you want to know is, “will I be able to sit through this crap?” Well, there are a group of people even more jaded and cynical than you. They’re called critics, and here’s their take:
For Kids: Reviewers aren’t known for their child-like wonder (or human emotions in general), but seem enchanted by the magical elements of the film; especially the cinematography and special effects. “Lanky, long-limbed, and 5 stories tall, this gentle behemoth with jug-ears and a vocabulary of gibberish malapropisms is the main reason to see this sweet kiddie fantasia,” says Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly. And Peter Debruge of Variety says the flick “makes it possible for audiences of all ages to wrap their heads around one of the unlikeliest friendships in cinema history, resulting in the sort of instant family classic ‘human beans’ once relied upon Disney to deliver.” Really Peter? More unlikely than a reindeer and a snowman?
For You: The top critics seem divided on The BFG. On one hand, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune digs the technical achievement, saying “for once, underneath all the motion capture folderol, the key performance really does feel like a full, real, vital performance.” But on the other hand, Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger says, “Strip away [Mark] Rylance’s vocal performance and the expensive effects and you have little more than 2 hours of precocious children, silly adults, and corny gags.” Bile Elbiri of the Village Voice splits the difference, writing, “Kids may well dig it. (Hell, my kid may well dig it.) But for me, The BFG was all anticipation of a different kind, leading to a massive letdown.”
Bottom Line: Hope you enjoy watching your kid’s enthusiasm for this film more than the film itself, because the early word is that even Spielberg nerds may find this a bit tedious. But, as Vulture critic David Edelstein points out, “a surfeit of rapture isn’t the worst thing in a movie.” No, the worst thing in a movie would be talking chipmunks.
Rating: PG, for CGI giants trying to hurt each other and some fart jokes
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes