This week is highlighted by the release of the live-action film adaptation of The BFG. Directed by Steven Spielberg with a massive $140 million budget are a couple hints that this should be a decent movie. The inspiration should guarantee success, assuming they do the book justice. Roald Dahls stories can transfer to the big screen flawlessly; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971). Or, it can become a visual mess; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Unfortunately, I can see Disney making a few modifications to the darker BFG, and big budget CGI riddled movies are becoming common fodder. However, as far as stories go, what great legs to stand on.
This is not the first film made featuring the Big Friendly Giant. In 1989 an animated version was produced for television. As a kid this was one of those movies I had on VHS, that got dusty in the pile of black boxes, with the jacket lost or destroyed in some great mystery. It was a decent movie, not getting equal action in the VCR as childhood favorites like Ferngully, or Aladdin.
This was one of the first books I remember reading in Elementary School. That being said, it’s near impossible to comprehend a story when children are learning to read out loud. Mispronounced words, stopping at every other multi syllable word, each paragraph feeling like an hour, and me being more concerned with how well I would do when my turn came up. More recently, with the announcement of the new movie, I wanted to read this book to my son. Apparently, I am not the only parent with this idea as suddenly the library had a waiting list for a 35 year old book. I faced the same problem finding a DVD when the Lion King musical came into town last year. Despite all of these factors, I can still vividly remember the story of the BFG.
Following a young orphan child, Sophie, as she starts spotting a mysterious cloaked person, out her bedroom window. When she is discovered she is carried off to the land of Giant Country. Making quick friends with the Giant ‘BFG’, she is assured of her safety, that he is not the type of Giant that eats people. When Sophie sees the nuisance the other Giants are she wants the BFG to stop them. They work together to convince the Queen of England to help capture and imprison the not-so-friendly Giants. When all is said and done the book we have read is revealed to be written by the BFG, himself.
It is a great fantasy, adventure for children. An important middle grade story with the capturing of dreams and nightmares, the 24 foot tall BFG not fitting in with his people, and the bond built between Sophie and her Giant. A book I still intend to read with my kids and recommend that we all share it with the next generation, before they see the big budget film. Although, I am excited to see the movie, and until proven wrong I will be expecting a great experience.
Thanks booknerds, remember “those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it.”