It is sadly the worst Spielberg movie I have seen since maybe ‘The Terminal’ (which is still a movie I enjoyed for what it was). It’s not a bad movie by an stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly not a great movie either. It is just a wonderfully shot, scored, and acted film about a little girl and her big, friendly, giant.
The concept of this movie is quite wonderful (it’s no surprise it came from Roald Dahl). A lonely little orphan named Sophie (Rubie Barnhill) accidentally sees a giant out her window and is snatched up by what (at first) appears to be a monster. Yet, there is much more than meets the eye with this giant. He turns out to be a very kind dream catcher that likes being called BFG (Big Friendly Giant). He is also played by recent Oscar winning actor, Mark Rylance, in a delightful performance. The two develop a sweet relationship and Sophie quickly learns all about BFG’s world.
The wonders of that world include a tree filled with dreams for the shaping. The pitfalls include other giants, and that’s my biggest problem with this movie. The other giants are certainly bad and apparently eat children, but you never really feel that. They feel like childish bully’s at the school yard. I was never afraid for the heroes because of them. I was mostly just annoyed by their presence.
Luckily, the movie only spends a small portion of the running time on the mean giants and concentrates more on the heroes. When the third act takes them to Buckingham Palace, it is an unbelievable treat. I especially love when BFG gives some of his soda drink to the Queen and her guard. I know you will laugh when you see it. It’s one of the best fart jokes I’ve seen in a very long time.
Yet, that is the problem with this movie when compared to other Spielberg films. There are a few great sequences in it and some very good performances, but it is not a consistently wondrous joy like other fantasy Spielberg films.