By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I’m willing to bet that in North America, those who grew up on CBC’s The Friendly Giant (which had its roots in radio) will get what The BFG is all about. In this film, although the concept is different and written by Roald Dahl who most likely had little awareness of this television show, to have a gentle grandfatherly figure recount tales of yore would really add to this product more. If only some of those ideas could have been put into this film, then just maybe, it would draw those who probably have not read Dahl’s work — but at least heard of the children’s television program — into checking out this film.
The lead, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), is nicely cast. Mark Rylance has this air of gentleness and his performance must have been motion captured for computer rendering. This modern version certainly pays tribute to the design featured in the animated 1989 film, and while I have not looked at the original books in ages, I certainly took note of the elephantine ears presented in that version. This movie certainly respects the roots and plays with the story somewhat to make it “current” to its timeline. The sets are gorgeous to look at.