The Cannes Film Festival is now well underway, with many highly anticipated movies making their debut at the prestigious event. One such flick is Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, which premiered this weekend to a somewhat mixed response. According to the reviews we’ve seen, it’s certainly not a bad movie, but it’s also far from the director’s best.
The issue seems to be that while The BFG is a faithful treatment of the beloved source material, it relies too heavily on CGI, drags on with too much dialogue and plays it fairly safe, presenting a by the numbers adaptation that may please people who are looking for that sort of thing, but won’t strike a chord with a wider audience.
For more, check out some excerpts below that we’ve gathered from around the web:
The BFG is big friendly giant of a film from a director who knows how to make films on that note and on that scale. With boldness and sweep, he creates a Spielberg-BFG myth with hints of Oscar Wilde’s selfish giant, Jack and the Beanstalk and the Nutcracker Suite.
An uncanny thematic mirror to E.T. some 34 years later, Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison’s The BFG emerges as a conspicuously less captivating, magical and transporting experience than its classic forebear. Quite literally about the value and importance of dreams to the exclusion of almost anything else, this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s enduring classic (published, coincidentally, the same year E.T. came out) sees the director diving deep into a technological bag of tricks to mix giants and humans on the same cinematic stage. Big commercial results loom for Disney’s major early July release, but the two-hour two-hander drags with too much dialogue during the first half and never truly achieves narrative lift-off.
No matter how fantastical the tale (and it gets pretty out-there at points), this splendid Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation makes it possible for audiences of all ages to wrap their heads around one of the unlikeliest friendships in cinema history, resulting in the sort of instant family classic “human beans” once relied upon Disney to deliver.
The reverence for this preeminent commercial storyteller goes so deep that his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved 1982 children’s book arrived at the festival as though it had nothing to prove. And indeed, anyone familiar with Dahl’s original work will find that this faithful treatment of the material merges quite organically with the usual Spielbergian tropes, although in this case it feels more like an illustration of preexisting skill than a paragon of its powers.
But as the film plays, the technology itself just melts away. You’re watching a girl and a giant explore a landscape of astonishments – and while the note-perfect script, written by the late Melissa Matheson (who also scripted E.T.), treats Dahl’s words with radiant respect, it also subtly reworks them to make the story cinematic to its soul. With its velvety, butter-icing colours, spiritual sensitivity to geography and landscape, and swirls of romantic mysticism, The BFG feels very much like Spielberg’s Powell and Pressburger film – it’s a picture that could have only been made now, but feels rooted in the past.
CGI loses the day in Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, a partly motion-captured, eco-minded adaptation of Roald Dahl’s adored children’s book that leans so heavily on green-screen trickery that even Mark Rylance’s kind eyes — squinting out from that computer-generated abyss — can’t save it from mediocrity. The plotline of a friendly, dream-blowing giant who takes an orphaned girl under his wing has the great director’s name all over it, but those expecting something for the whole family here may feel a little let down. That is, unless fart-propelled corgis fizzing around Buckingham Palace is your kind of thing. (However, that’s nowhere near as funny as it sounds.)
The BFG hits theatres on July 1st, 2016.