Film Review: The BFG (out on 22 July 2016) & the London Dream Jar Trail

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth and to celebrate one of the most creative authors of all times, there will be a movie release in the Summer. From the minds of two of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg – THE BFG will see a UK release on 22 July 2016. 

The Big Friendly Giant  will be impersonated by Academy Award winner Mark Rylance and his unlikely friend Sophie  by newcomer Ruby Barnhill. Read my spoiler-free review. You only need to know it’s a wonderful film for both children and parents.

The BFG film Roald Dahl

 

The story

The talents of two of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg – finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic The BFG to life. The BFG is the exciting tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. 

the-bfg disney movie

Together they embark on a marvellous and buckswashling adventure filled with snozzcumbers, dream jars, frobscottle and even the Queen! The mismatched pair form an unlikely friendship that will inspire enormous bravery in the BFG and give Sophie a taste of the family she dreams of.  The film stars three-time Tony Award®, two-time Olivier Award, BAFTA and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant; Penelope Wilton as the Queen; Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queen’s handmaid and introduces newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie.

Spielberg recently said: “I think it was kind of genius of Roald Dahl to be able to empower the children. It was very, very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light,’ and being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone, it was a wonderful thing for Dahl to have done, and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book.”

The BFG[1] The BFG

Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) was published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since.  Dahl’s books, which also include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Fantastic Mr. Fox, are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

Originally created as a bedtime story, The BFG was Dahl’s own favorite of all his stories. Spielberg added: “It was very important for us to be loyal to the language, and the  great writer Melissa Mathison, who also wrote E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial wrote The BFG.”

 

The trailer

 

The People behind this production

The BFG film steven spielberg roald dahl cannes film festival red carpet

Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) from a screenplay by Melissa Mathison (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Black Stallion) based on the best-selling novel by Roald Dahl, The BFG stars three-time Tony Award® and two-time Olivier Award winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Wolf Hall), newcomer Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Downton Abbey), Jemaine Clement (Rio 2, The Flight of the Conchords), Rebecca Hall (The Gift, Iron Man 3), Rafe Spall (Swallows and Amazons, The Big Short, Prometheus) and Bill Hader (Inside Out, Trainwreck). The film is produced by Spielberg, Frank Marshall (Jurassic World, The Bourne Ultimatum) and Sam Mercer (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Sixth Sense) with Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lincoln), John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Shakespeare in Love), Kristie Macosko Krieger (Bridge of Spies, Lincoln), Michael Siegel (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Rise of the Guardians), Frank Smith and Naia Cucukov serving as executive producers.

BFG premiere red carpet monica diego

That’s Diego and I at the BFG UK premiere in London!

 

The BFG Red Carpet Movie Premiere Highlights – Steven Spielberg & Mark Rylance

 

The verdict

The BFG is Steven Spielberg’s first fantasy film aimed at children since Hook. My 9 year old son loved this film and said it is much better than he expected considering this is one of his favourite Roald Dahl’s books. I suppose the BFG is for Diego what E.T. was for me as I was about the same age when E.T. was released in cinemas.
Diego loved listening to Steven Spielberg in the flesh at the UK premiere in London as he is a big fan of E.T, War Horse and Indiana Jones films.

This film comes right bang in the middle of an insanely good year for Disney and the new movie schedule for 2017 and 2018 has just been announced. 

The BFG is absolutely scrumptiously delightful, as Roald Dahl would describe it. It’s a charming and witty adventure film with well balanced special effects that don’t take over the wonderful storytelling. 

The BFG is a mostly faithful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved novel by the late Melissa Mathison. There are a few changes that Diego was keen to make me aware of but they are mainly in the grand finale when BFG doesn’t get a house next to the Queen but in his Giant land.

The film gets better and better as it goes along with the best scene at the Queen’s Palace when BFG and Sophie enjoy a royal dinner. Mark Rylance (as the giant) gives a spectacular performance. In the middle of the film I remembered where I had seen him before: at the Globe theatre many years ago where Rylance had been creative director and actor for 10 years. Ruby Barnhill is a great newcomer as the little friend and rescuer of the BFG.

The focus is on the friendship between Sophie and the BFG and is an optimistic tale that teaches children that friendship overcomes all obstacles in life. It’s the Disney magic sparkled on a Roald Dahl’s novel. Don’t miss it! 

London Mums’ rating: 9/10 

Kids Club rating: 10/10

 

The London Jar Trail 9 July to 31 August 2016

Inspired by The BFG and the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth, Steven Spielberg, Mark Rylance, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Professor Stephen Hawking and the Delevingne sisters are among dozens of high-profile individuals supporting a project to raise money for children across the world including Niall Horan, Maisie Williams, Sir Richard Branson, Nadiya Hussain, Naomi Campbell, Dominic West, Graham Norton, HRH The Countess of Wessex, Arsenal Football Club, Buzz Aldrin, Sophie Dahl, Team GB, Dame Helen Mirren and a host of others have their dreams transformed into art to go on display across the UK.

The BFG steven spielberg and mr bfg dream_jar

The unique trail has seen the childhood dreams and aspirations of 50 celebrated famous people transformed into sculptures by talented artists. The whimsical sculptures have been placed in giant Dream Jars up to six feet tall to form an art trail in London and across the UK for everyone to see for free this summer.

The BFG steven spielberg dream jar

The trail is raising money for Save the Children to support their vital work in some of the toughest places in the world so that every child has the chance to make their dreams come true. It will also benefit a specialist nursing programme supported by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. The jars are to be auctioned in collaboration with Paddle8 to raise money for both causes.

The BFG dream jars horse guards

Admittedly Spielberg has dreamt of having all the sweets in the world but without having no ill effects from overindulgence.  Entitled ‘Sweet Dreams’, his jar design will be on display in Leicester Square. The unique art trail will be on display in London (including Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Leicester Square, Harrods, Emirates Stadium and The Shard) and other parts of the UK from 9 July to 31 August 2016. The auction will launch alongside the film’s premiere on 17th July at Paddle8.

Professor Stephen Hawking based his dream jar on the thoughts of an ancient Chinese philosopher, who questioned whether our dreams are actually reality – a question Professor Hawking says can only be answered if we understand more about the universe.

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams’s, ‘A Whale’s Tale’, sees her dreaming of being tiny and swimming alongside a whale. She apparently dreamt of being in her swimming costume underwater, when suddenly out of the blue came a gigantic sperm whale and nose to nose with her.

One Direction’s Niall Horan’s, ‘Dream Date’, shows him in a hot air balloon floating high with the girl of his dreams above the Irish countryside.

The BFG dream jars horse guards 2

Models Poppy and Cara Delevingne together with their sister Chloe, chose ‘Sisterhood’ as the theme of their dream.

HRH The Countess of Wessex has worked with Irish Artist Ryan McElhinney to bring to life her dream of a safe internet for children. Other dream jars include granddaughter of the book’s author and writer in her own right Sophie Dahl’s ‘Happy Jumble of Life ‘Simon Cowell’s ‘For the Love of Animals’ actor Helen Mirren’s, ‘Dream of England’, businessman Sir Richard Branson’s, ‘Reach for the Stars’, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s, ‘Life on Mars’, Team GB’s ‘Believe in Extraordinary’, Dominic West’s ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ and presenter Graham Norton’s, ‘Monkeying Around’.

VisitLondon.com has a dedicated section enabling visitors to view the art trail map, share their pictures and discover the stories behind each Jar and location.

The BFG opens in cinemas on 22 July 2016.

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