For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Adventure Films, here’s a review of The BFG (1989) by Tom of Digital Shortbread
Thanks again to Damien of Riley on Film for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Summer of Serendipitous Anachronisms. She has chosen quite a unique genre and we will be reviewing our favorite Derivative Work Movies.
Here’s Summer to explain her choice:
Basically it is anything based or inspired by pre-existing source
Amelie takes its relationships from the Luncheon of the Boating Party
The Magnificent Seven is borrowed from the Seven Samurai
Sunday in the Park with George is based on painting by George Seurat
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is loosely based on Hamlet
My Own Private Idaho borrows from Henry the IV
Cosi is about a director directing the musical Cosi Fan Tutti
Pride Prejudice and Zombies borrows from Pride and Prejudice
Clueless borrows from the novel Emma
Monty Python and the Holy Grail borrows from the Arthurian Legend
Basically a film that borrows from pre-existing source but reinvents the source material into something else
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of June by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Summer!
Let’s see what Tom thought of this movie:
Release: Christmas Day 1989
Although this is arguably one of the strangest and most obscure of all the Roald Dahl big screen translations, The B.F.G. is undoubtedly Dahl through-and-through. Though this might be the first time some have ever heard of it, this touching adventure could be one of the more heartwarming pieces he had to offer.
A lonely orphan named Sophie (voiced by Amanda Root) is suddenly snatched from her bed in the terrible confines of the Clonkers Home for Girls by a mysterious giant figure late at night. It takes her far away from this place and to seemingly another world, where other giants apparently exist, ones that are not quite as nice and friendly as this one. She is stolen away to the giant’s little nook in the side of a mountain, where he introduces himself as The Big Friendly Giant. He explains that not only is he different from the rest because he’s pleasant, but that he has no intention of eating humans like the others. Thank goodness for that.
The two become fast friends. Being the inquisitive little girl that she is, Sophie wants to know what he was doing in her town late that night. As it turns out, the B.F.G. is a dream-weaver of sorts, as his job is to catch dreams in a spectacular place known as Dream Country and then to travel back to our world and blow them into the imaginations of sleeping children all throughout the night using a trumpet-like device. He bottles the dreams and stores them in his home until he decides where he’s going to take each one. Sophie is at first reluctant to believe that this is real, until the B.F.G. takes her there himself.
It’s not long, however, before one of the evil giants senses that there is a human in the area. This being a Roald Dahl adaptation, these beasts have some really odd names: there’s the Butcher Boy, the Fleshlumpeater, the Manhugger, the Childchewer, the Meatdripper, the Gizzardgulper, the Maidmasher, the Bloodbottler and, of course, who can forget the Bonecruncher. It is he, the Bonecruncher, who stumbles upon the B.F.G.’s lair one night and trashes his place in his search for this child but the friendly giant insists there’s no one there and that he is just talking to himself.
The thing with beasts, you see, is that they like to sleep all day and scour the land by night, looking for children to gorge themselves on. The B.F.G. wants nothing to do with them, and actively avoids going near them. With the help of this young girl, maybe the B.F.G. can become brave enough to find a way to rid the land permanently of these vicious creatures. Indeed, that is just what they do together.
When one trip back to Sophie’s home town finds the two in danger yet again since the Bonecruncher has found a way to follow them, the B.F.G. realizes that they might not ever be out of danger. He feels awful for putting Sophie in harm’s way. Returning to the land of giants, they form a plan that will involve the Queen, her Royal Air Force and a few acts of courage to rid this world of danger.
The B.F.G. has unfortunately slipped through the cracks compared to other productions based off of the renowned author’s scribblings. That’s strange considering the popularity of Dahl’s book. The novel’s 1981 release ensured a loyal following had already formed behind it (this book was his eleventh). However, that’s not to say the picture lacks in its passion for showing that there are indeed good people in this world. The B.F.G. represents the good adult role model wayward children so desperately need in their lives, and thanks to David Jason’s wonderful voiceover work, the film indeed offers that.
Scenes like the one in which the B.F.G. introduces Sophie to what he calls frobscottle — a strange drink in which the carbonation bubbles drift to the bottom, rather than up to the top, causing the person to fart (or ‘whizpop’) rather than burp — proof that this film is decidedly more for the benefit of children rather than adults; all the same, it’s an enchanting adventure that will often take you by surprise.
Note: Unless you’re living under a rock, Steven Spielberg will be updating this film with a live-action film set to drop this July, with an incredibly exciting cast fleshing out the major parts, including Mark Rylance as The Big Friendly Giant and newcomer Ruby Barnhill taking on the role of young orphan Sophie. Bill Hader and Jermaine Clement will be playing two of the more notable “evil” giants, Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeater, respectively. I can’t state enough how excited I am for this film. It could be one of the year’s best.