I’m sorry, this is ridiculous, but I’m afraid there’s just no way I will ever be able to look at the titles of this film and not see it as The Big Fucking Giant. I know it’s The Big Friendly Giant … but somehow I like my title better. I guess I just have a nasty mind, because when I see the initials BFF I never think Best Friend Forever, either …
We seem to be on a streak here, what with this one and Pete’s Dragon, of movies better than I had expected them to be. I have never even heard of the book, yet another one by Roald Dahl. The story might actually be better called The Big Little Friendly Giant, as the BFG (no other name, apparently) is a runt compared to his really huge brethren, nasty fuckers all. They eat little children, but the BFG is a vegetarian who subsists on a really awful species of giant cucumber, and runs around at night catching dreams. When Sophie, a ten-year-old in an orphanage, sees him, he kidnaps her and says she can never go home. Not that she really loves the orphanage, but this is a little disconcerting to her.
This is all happening in the ‘80s, and at the end Sophie and the BFG seek the aid of the real Queen Elizabeth to take care of the child-eating giants. That surprised me a bit, and was quite funny. These giants, BTW, are all male, no females. No wonder they’re cranky. Even the stinkin’ Smurfs have the one Smurfette for their Saturday night blue gang-bangs.
An idle thought here. The BFG is played, obviously in a motion-capture suit, by Mark Rylance, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar last year for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies. Sophie was played by Ruby Barnhill, a first-time child actor who I thought was very good, very appealing. But I wonder if they ever met? Clearly she never stepped into his hand and looked up at him. They would be playing in entirely different locations, and would be put together in post-production. I’m betting they did rehearse together, but it would not have been strictly necessary.
Even though it goes without saying these days, I will say yet again that the SFX are stunning. Even more important is the production design, which is charming, almost infinitely intricate and well-thought-out. Sadly, this was the last script from Melissa Matheson, and there is a tribute to her on the DVD. I recommend that you look at it. She was terrific.