The Boy has been seeing quite a few movies with his girlfriend, especially if they’re ones I’ve been cool on. But there’s no escape for me: The Barbarienne likes popcorn and off to the movies we much, hold the resist. The Adventures of Tintin, Spielberg’s last outright kidflick, was such an odd mess of Spielbergian clichés, I was chary of this adventure, for the BFG is a thin book and while not without its charm, it’s probably in the lower five of Roald Dahl’s top 10.
It’s actually pretty good. The CGI giant is in the sweet spot: Not close enough to the Uncanny Valley to make you uncomfortable, but not so far off that you can’t believe it. They expanded on Dahl’s dialogue for him (because, of course, they had to) but while the dedicated Dahl fan can hear the slight difference between the original text and the script, it’s pretty faithful to the book’s spoonerisms and corruptions. The Barb looked away a little bit—she has about zero tolerance for anything even remotely scary or emotionally intense or awkward—but the “scary” parts were also pretty faithful to the book. (Which The Barb, who has read all of Dahl’s other works, has not read because it’s too scary.)
All in all very faithful, and remarkably tasteful given the fart jokes. I was a little concerned the whole movie would go Full Fart. But there’s just a little bit at the front and a great little bit at the end.
As in the book, at one point, the BFG and Sophie go meet the Queen. Of England. This was definitely my favorite part, as it was such a lovely throwback to the concept of English propriety. All the various servants and staff at the palace scramble to find ways to accommodate a giant! And they manage!
It felt like there was a lot of sincerity here, like maybe Grampa Spielberg was thinking of his actual grandkids making this movie. I don’t know. It had heart, as opposed Heart™, if that makes sense.
If it doesn’t, well, the Barb also liked it, as did The Boy.