The main joy of Steven Spielberg’s newest “The BFG” is the glorious performance of recent Oscar Winner Mark Rylance as the title character, the BFG, or Big Friendly Giant. It’s almost a one-man movie as Rylance is transmorgrified by millions of dollars worth of special effects make-up and animatronics into the skinny, big-eared, receding jaw-lined Giant named Runt.
And the wonder to watch is that Rylance is such a superb actor, he out-acts his make-up, or acts through this perhaps ponderous obstacle to give a truly glowing, heartfelt performance. His Runt is wondrous in every way possible. He acts with his warm, brown,unanimated human eyes, and treats Roald Dahl’s gibberish language as if it were Shakespeare. It was music to my ears.
You see, giants usually eat children. But not the BFG. He’s a vegetarian thriving on grostesque, green snozzcumbers, but not his fellow giants, who are bigger and grosser than he is. With names like Gizzargulper, Childchewer, Maidmashser, Bloodbottler, Manhugger(well, that’s not so grotesque), Fleshlumpeater, Meatdripper, Butcherboy and Bonechruncher.Bullies all, and Runt really IS a runt compared to their, well, gigantic-ness. An unrecognizably- voiced Bill Hader is main among them, and they sniff out little Sophie’s presence(Rose Barnhill) and are ravenous to eat her. Sophie has had the misfortune (or fortune) to be kidnapped by Runt and whisked off to Giant Land.
Runt, of course hides Sophie, in every nook and cranny imaginable in his phantasmagoric cottage, and that is basically the plot. Runt is a dream-catcher and dream-shaper by profession, and though I felt being sent off to dream-land myself at times, the conclusion of the film, with Runt and Sophie seeking out the Queen of England, circa 1982, to help them provides a hilarious conclusion. Penelope Wilton, Cousin Isabel of “Downtown Abbey” is also just grand as Her Majesty.
It’s not top-draw Disney(the script is overlong and meanders in the middle) but it’s one of the best outings Steven Spieberg has had in a long time.
And the wonderful Mark Rylance! Could he get an Oscar nomination, again, even though he’s almost over-loaded with CGIs? If anybody could, he could. In any case, it’s a delight.
#BFG #Mark Rylance #Oscar #BIG FRIENDLY GIANT #Penelope Wilton # Special Effects