3 Stars

Steven Spielberg’s work as of late has been dominated by more adult material, so in theory, it’s good to see him returning to fare that’s more kid-friendly. The BFG, based on the Roahd Dahl book, follows a young orphan girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), who encounters a giant (Mark Rylance) one night. The giant takes her back to his homeland, where she discovers that he’s the runt of his community. Sophie forms a friendship with the BFG, or Big Friendly Giant, and together, they set out to keep the other, man-eating giants from coming into London to eat children. The BFG does feature some visually inventive work from Spielberg, with Rylance’s BFG managing to largely overcome the uncanny valley of visual effects, so the film deserves credit for that. But while the visuals work, the story itself is a bit lacking. It’s a simple story, but told at a fairly languid pace. Because of that, this family film feels like one that will be limited to working for older kids, at best. Younger kids may nod off from the pacing, while the film’s fart jokes and garbled language might be off-putting for even young teens. It’s good to see Spielberg is still the master of visual storytelling, but hopefully he can marry that to a stronger story next time.

The BFG • Rating: PG-13 (for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor) • Runtime: 115 minutes • Genre: Family • Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rebecca Hall, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader • Director: Steven Spielberg • Writer: Melissa Mathison • Distributor: Disney

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