When a book like The BFG, a favourite of mine growing up, is adapted for the big screen, a director like Steven Spielberg behind the camera is always going to garner my interest. The performance of this film at the United States box-office has caused people to question whether Spielberg has lost his magic. Well, I'm happy to say he hasn't because The BFG really is a magical adaptation of such a classic book.

When young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) hears a noise outside her window during the 'Witching Hour' one night in London, she catches a glimpse at a tall and dark figure in the street. Both Sophie and the mysterious figure are startled however, while she retreats to her bed, the figure approaches the window before snatching her from the bed.

Whisked away to an unknown destination, Sophie soon realises that she's in the company of a giant. But not just any giant, this is the Big Friendly Giant or BFG (Mark Rylance). Sophie's in Giant Country now and she must help the BFG hatch a plan to stop the other giants from eating children.

One of the greatest storytellers in the history of film, Spielberg, makes it so easy to settle into his films and The BFG is no different. From the opening shots of the London night time to the later moments awash with colours as we enter Giant Country, Spielberg makes you feel like you're in the middle of Roald Dahl's story.

The late Melissa Mathison, who worked with Spielberg on E.T., has done a great job in making sure not one moment of the two hour runtime feels wasted. In fact, the two hours literally fly right by. Mathison's work really shines during the scene where the BFG shows Sophie how he catches all of the dreams, a genuinely beautiful moment made even more so by the wonderful visual effects on display.

Coming to the performances, Spielberg finds two leads capable of selling the heartwarming nature of this particular story. Mark Rylance, fresh off his Academy Awards win, plays the BFG with the perfect amount of gentleness and innocence the character needs to work while newcomer, Ruby Barnhill, mirrors her character in the way she goes about starring in her first ever film, showing no fear.

Disappointingly, John Williams' score doesn't feel as original as it needed to be, though there are still some magical moments you should expect from the legendary composer. Just not up there with some of his other collaborations with Spielberg.

I've heard grumblings about a few scenes that use flatulence within the narrative, branding them as 'childish'. It's important for those people to understand that this is in fact a children's book where those scenes play a part in making it such an enjoyable adventure.

Box-office takings haven't been particularly amazing but I am in no doubt that Spielberg is still one of the best directors working today, if not the best.

Verdict: ★★★★


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