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The story of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is a cherished one, adored by fans of the Roald Dahl book for decades. While an animated film was released in 1989, this is the first live-action and CGI production. We’ve discussed this movie a few times now, here and here, but we’ve finally got a real look at what we’ve all been wondering about: the giant.
Voiced by Academy Award winner (Bridge of Spies) Mark Rylance, the giant in The BFG actually looks a lot like the actor, which is a very good choice. Whether you have your own image in your head of what the BFG looks like, or feel attached to the illustrations by Quentin Blake in the original book, to the character in the Cosgrove Hall film mentioned earlier, Spielberg and his animators have done a smart job of putting together a giant that should satisfy all. Appropriately kind-looking, inviting and slightly melancholy, he makes for a well . . . a big friendly giant.
As we’ve already commented on, the little girl Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) has the biggest burden, but she seems well-cast and handles her limited time in the trailers with some promising wonder and awe. Child actors have long been a staple for Spielberg films and he mostly populates his stories with some great talent. The look of this trailer is simply jaw-dropping with cinematography by Spielberg regular Janusz Kaminski working with the CGI team to create some stunning visuals, both of the city streets and in Giant Country.
The clip reveals a lot about the Giant, as he slinks around the city collecting children’s dreams. As big as he is, he moves deftly through the shadows without a sound. When he snatches up Sophie, who is awake in the wee hours of the night reading her favorite books, there is a small sense of dread, but quickly replaced by the joy of the moment as she peers up and out of the blanket she is wrapped up in. She has no fear and looks almost to have been anticipating this journey.
At the end of the trailer, we even meet some of antagonists of the story, Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) and their gang. In the book these are, as teased by their clever names, eaters of humans and suspect the old giant, who stands much shorter than they, of hiding a human. What’s nice is how the brief scene is very reminiscent of a moment in the book when Bloodletter gets a taste of snozzcumber, a foul vegetable the BFG enjoys as he doesn’t eat flesh. That’s promising.
The clip is one of the more creative trailers of the year and if anything, reveals that Spielberg has yet to lose a single ounce of the magic needed in making a children’s film, something he hasn’t done in a very long time.
The BFG opens July 1, 2016.
Melissa Mathison (screenplay), Roald Dahl (novel)
Rebecca Hall, Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Ruby Barnhill