Movies capturing the magic of childhood have always been one of iconic Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s *inescapable *obsessions.
From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011), Spielberg has created awe-inspiring worlds for children through his films. “It’s all about making kids feel like they can do anything. That nothing’s impossible,” the director told The Guardian.
His latest work, The BFG, which was released in Chinese cinemas on Oct 14, was adapted from the 1982 novel of the same name. Written by beloved British children’s author Roald Dahl, Spielberg says he read the story to his seven children when they were young.
An orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) happens to witness the big friendly giant (Mark Rylance), or BFG for short, running through the streets of London “blowing dreams” to children late at night. Scared the girl will leak his secret, the BFG takes Sophie back to his native Giant Country. However, while the *abductor is actually a tender-hearted *vegetarian, his fellow giants like nothing more than snacking on humans.
Besides being largely faithful to the novel, Spielberg *injects cinematic visualization into the already well-known classic tale. For the originally plain portrayal of “chasing dreams” in the Dream Country, the director designed an upside down lake with two sides representing the real world and the dream world. The joy-filled scene, which features flashy visual effects, also happens to be his favorite part of the movie.
Spielberg’s The BFG perfectly tells the tale of an unlikely friendship brought to life in a fantasy world. However, many say the story is a bit too kid-friendly. We know optimism is Spielberg’s signature tone, but the final battle with the *villains sees victory come a little bit too easily. And when the BFG *revolts for the first time against the giants who have been bullying him his whole life, it seems confusing how he successfully drives away bad guys who are almost twice his size. Although perhaps this is meant as a subtlety, leaving viewers with the opinion that courage conquers all.
This said, Spielberg does leave some *morsels for adult viewers to digest. The BFG is scared of being seen as a monster by humans, but in the end his own kind ends up captured and locked in *isolation. Will he be *destined to spend the rest of his days in solitude too?
Despite being geared toward a younger audience, the film is still worth a watch by the bigger ones among us, pun intended. While it may not feature the guns, death and explosions many of us chose to entertain ourselves with nowadays, the story harkens back to a more innocent time of youth where our imaginations were all the amusement we needed. And with The BFG’s heart-warming happy ending, the tale will leave you walking out of the movie theater standing tall.
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