One of the greatest children’s stories ever written returned to the big screen in 2016 with its second bite at the box office snozzcumber with a new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. It follows in the giant-sized footsteps of the brilliant 1989 animated movie, but this time around it’ll be a live action production. This will see it in the same ranks as Danny The Champion Of The World, The Witches, Matilda, The Esio Trot Movie and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, all of which have had a similar treatment over the years.
Roald Dahl published the book originally in 1982 with stunning illustrations provided by the inimitable Quentin Blake, coming on the back of a raft of earlier successes ranging from James And The Giant Peach to George’s Marvelous Medicine. The majority of his works have been adapted for screen in one way or another and recently we’ve had some pretty big names involved in the productions with Dame Judy Dench and Dustin Hoffman starring in the BBC adaptation of Esio Trot and George Clooney and Meryl Streep in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox.
The 2016 incarnation of The BFG is being directed by Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies), so once again the stories of the Cardiff-born writer have still got the magic, wonder and genius to attract attention from the biggest names in Hollywood. We don’t ordinarily fall in favour of cinematic remakes, but in this case we were happy to make an exception, especially with the director of E.T., Indiana Jones, Hook and Jurassic Park in the director’s chair for the much-loved story.
The BFG had a UK release date on the big screen on Friday the 22nd July 2016, following the US release earlier in the same month on the 1st July 2016. Despite the impressive CGI effects and fantastical storyling, it didn’t make it to the cinema in 3D, which felt like a bit of a shame.
The British Board Of Film Classification has certified the film’s teaser trailer below as a PG, which went on to be the rating for the full film for release in the UK. The original was a U, but with the CGI effects on the giants it’s probably a bit on the scary side for the littler little ones.
DVD, Blu-ray and digital download
The UK DVD release date for The BFG (2016) was the 21st November 2016, along with the arrival of the Blu-ray and digital download. It’ll be out just in time for the winter holiday season and with so much magic and Dahlian dreams wrapped up in the story, it should find itself tucked in a fair few stockings this Christmas.
As in the gem of a children’s novel, the plot will focus on the burgeoning friendship between an orphan girl named Sophie and the BFG, Big Friendly Giant, who carries her off to his homeland of the Giant Country. While he’s a friendly and benevolent giant, who spends his nights bringing beautiful dreams to the kids of the world, his larger, uglier kin are a bit more BKG… Big Killer Giants. In a bid to protect Sophie and the rest of the planet’s children from the slavering gut busting beasts they must formulate a clever plan and pull it off with the help of a little British royalty.
While the film has arguably the most recognisable movie director possible, the cast list isn’t quite as big name with Bill Hader (Inside Out) being the most recognisable actor in the film as one of the ferocious, man-eating giants. The cast also includes Mark Rylance as the BFG, who worked with Spielberg recently in the U-2 spy plane thriller, Bridge Of Spies. Newcomer, Ruby Barnhill, will play Sophie, Penelope Wilton has been cast as The Queen and Rebecca Hall plays her maid, Mary.
Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Concords, Men In Black 3), Michael David Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Chris Gibbs, Adam Godley (The Theory Of Everything), Jonathan Holmes, Paul Moniz de Sa and Ólafur Ólafsson (The Last Witch Hunter) will be growing somewhat in stature to become the rest of the bad tempered giants.
In addition to Steven Spielberg as the director of the film, the production’s screenplay has been written by Melissa Mathison. Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer are down as producers and Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, Michael Siegel and Kristie Macosko Krieger executive producers for the Disney, Amblin and Reliance adaptation.
DVD, Blu-ray and digital download special features
- Bringing The BFG to Life – Ruby Barnhill (Sophie) hosts this special feature on the making of The BFG (2016)
- The Big Friendly Giant and Me – This bonus short brings the illustrations of The BFG to life with new animation and narration
- Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG – A tutorial on the meaning of the words invented and used by Roald Dahl in book and transferred to magic of the film
- Giants 101 – Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3) and Bill Hader (Adventureland) introduce us to the bone-crunching giants in film, as well as getting insight from movement choreographer and motion capture performer, Terry Notary, who worked with the actors to get them looking as much like giants as possible
- Melissa Mathison: A Tribute – An homage to Melissa Mathison, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the film, who also wrote E.T.
- John Williams: Scoring A Dream – A short special feature on the film’s concept art, overlaid with the music of composer John William
- Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG
- Melissa Mathison: A Tribute
Following on the back of strong teasers and trailers ahead of the release, the film went on to be a magic-filled production with Spielberg in the director’s chair and one of Roald Dahl‘s great stories behind it, making it a big DVD release for the winter season. It’s not the first time the director has worked on a great British children’s story, having been in the hot seat for the 1991 classic, Hook, which we’re big fans of. While it may not be his favourite movie, much to our chagrin, The BFG (2016) manages to come very close to having a similar effect on children watching the visually impressive gem of a film.