[#Review]: Disney’s The BFG

Last week was one heck of a week. The kids and I went on Great Day Washington to share tips on how to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage month at home, and we hosted our biggest event of the year, the Anancy Festival. The Anancy Festival is an event centered around Anancy, the keeper of the stories. I told my story, Winston Won’t Go, and two other talented storytellers shared their stories with a great group of kids and parents who listened intently.

I love hearing a good story, and telling a great story. In The BFG, the talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg – finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country.

I was really tired from a long week and weekend, so I wondered if I would go to sleep as soon as the lights went down. Luckily, I had li’l bit there to poke me in my side if she thought I was nodding off. We made a ladies’ night out of it, settled into our seats with our 3D glasses and enjoyed the show. Li’l bit has been doing more reviews for the blog, so I asked her what she thought of the movie.

Me: So what did you think?

Li’l Bit: That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.

Me: Really?

Li’l Bit: Others might not think so, but I’m easily scared, soooo….. yeah. I’m also 10 so I haven’t seen that many scary movies.

Me: Would you recommend that parents take their kids that are your age to see it?

Li’l Bit: It depends on how mature they are. I think it is one of those kinds of movies where they say, “some scenes may be intense for younger viewers.” That giant’s feet were nasty. Nasty feet are scary…

Me: Agreed. So was it ‘nightmare’ scary or just ‘sleep with the lights on’ scary?

Li’l Bit: It’s one of those movies that you just pray you don’t have a bad dream after you watch it. I’m one of those people who gets bad dreams right after I watch something that scares me, so I’d say it is ‘nightmare’ scary. For me at least.

Me: What was so scary about it, besides giant, dirty feet?

Li’l Bit: I guess it’s the fact that they sneak into houses at night, kidnap, and eat children.  The little girl looked about my age. I know it wasn’t real, but it could have been me! Not cool.

Me: Is it anything like the book?

Li’l Bit: I never finished the book. I have it, so I’ll check later and get back to you.

Me: Was there anything that you liked about the movie?

Li’l Bit: I did like the movie in general. It was actually really funny. It had a nice happy ending. The special effects are really cool, but now we are back to scary. They were very realistic, which made them scary. Overall, I did like the movie, and I think other kids will like it too.

Now it’s my turn!

Does it earn the PG rating? I definitely think so. Here’s the thing that struck me right off the bat. There is a grown man who snatches a young girl out of her bed and plans to basically keep her hostage forever in a cave. A very cool cave, but in a cave nonetheless. I just didn’t like the vibe. The BFG didn’t look enough like a fairy tale type character to me, so it just felt like a kidnapping.

“The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming…” ~ Disney

I think that it is important that the kids who go to see this are old enough to understand that when a man takes a kid, it is not likely that he will be taking them on a magical adventure in giant country.

“The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.” ~ Disney

Also, the rest of the giants looked a lot like real people, not mythical monsters, just huge people, so when they were chasing the main character, I could see how a young girl could be terrified at the scene. Ten might be the youngest that I’d go with this one.

Bottom line, should you take the kids to see it? I don’t see why not, if you child is ready to handle it. The story is a classic, and Steven Spielberg does a nice job with it. It isn’t an easy story to translate into a movie without getting super creepy. Fairy tales are like that. I mean, the one about kids getting cooked in an oven? How do you even tone that down? Overall, it makes for an entertaining evening at the movies, and the special effects are fantastic.  There’s a little crude humor, but every family, I don’t care how proper you are, enjoys some good gas driven comedy every now and then.

It definitely is worth seeing on the big screen because… well… giants. 3D isn’t necessary though. My eyes adjusted rather quickly, and the effects, as far as the 3D went, didn’t really do much to enhance the story. If seeing it without 3D will save you a couple dollars, then spend that on popcorn and skip the 3D.

I wouldn’t consider this a date night movie. It isn’t fantasy like the Hobbit – more for kids than not. So if you are going, you may as well take the little ones – or not so little ones. Just be prepared. They may end up sleeping in your bed for a night or two.

(Oh, and there are several people of color in the movie. Just putting that out there after the Alice in Wonderland review. Thank you Disney!)

“The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.

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We were invited to a pre-screening of the BFG for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions are our own.