This week for Teen Book Talk, we’re sharing a double review! One for the original book, The BFG, by Roald Dahl, and the other a review of the recent movie release by the same name.
Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**
Neha H., Teen Reviewer
Name of Movie: The BFG
Release Date: July 1, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG
My rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Celebrated director Steven Spielberg teamed up with Disney to bring Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s classic to life with The BFG , released July 1, 2016. Ten-year-old Sophie is understandably frightened when she is plucked away from her dormitory in a London orphanage to Giant Country in the darkness of night, during the “witching hour”. But when she discovers that her twenty-four foot tall captor is in fact benevolent, Sophie dubs him the “BFG”, or “Big Friendly Giant”. She gradually learns that he is a dream-catcher, who captures pleasant dreams in glass jars and gives them to children. However, Sophie’s presence in Giant Country does not go undetected; her scent attracts the vicious Fleshlumpeater and eight other giants, who, unlike the BFG, eat small children. Together, Sophie and the BFG formulate a plan to travel to London and inform the Queen of the evil giants before any more children are eaten.
The BFG is undeniably filled with dazzling imagery and heartwarming humor. Newcomer Ruby Barnhill, as Sophie, gives a lovable and endearing performance. Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance wonderfully brings the beloved character of the BFG to life, through his emotive facial expressions and state-of-the-art motion capture technology. The audience is presented with several meaningful interactions between the two unlikely friends. Spielberg’s longtime collaborator John Williams provides a musical score as wonderfully riveting as the film itself.
However, Spielberg and Mathison have significantly toned down the macabre darkness characteristic of Dahl’s works, in favor of focusing more on the friendship between Sophie and the BFG. Though Spielberg’s adaptation diverged from the original storyline in many instances, the deviation from the book’s classic ending was by far the most disappointing. Despite the outstanding performances by Rylance and Barnhill, The BFG falls a bit short of expectations by keeping it too nice. It never quite rises to its full potential, and fails to truly capture the impish charm of Roald Dahl’s book.
Jiwon H., Teen Reviewer
Book Title: The BFG
Author: Roald Dahl
Year of Publication: 1982
Who will book appeal to?: Young Kids
Rating: 4 stars
The BFG (short for The Big Friendly Giant) is a children’s book written by Roald Dahl in 1982. The main characters are a girl named Sophie, who lives in an orphanage, and a giant. One night, Sophie hears a noise from the street and goes out to the balcony. In the balcony, she sees the giant walking in the street with a suitcase and something that looks like a long trumpet. The giant takes Sophie with him to a place where many giants live, because his existence should not be revealed to people. Later, the giant explains what he does with the suitcase and the trumpet – he blows various dreams he has collected into people while they are sleeping. He tells Sophie that he is called BFG, because he is friendly, and also mentions that there are some giants who are not friendly at all – they are dangerous to people. They go to the Dream Country together and Sophie sees many dreams that BFG has collected. Will she be able to return to the orphanage or will she decide to stay with BFG?
This book is written as a children’s book, so obviously I recommend this book to young kids; the plot is easy to understand and not very long. However, I also recommend this book to readers other than children who like reading fantasy stories. I think readers who like fantasy stories, or young children can try reading this book. Also, the movie, which is based on this book, will give a good representation of overall story line, even though it does not include all the details from the actual book. So, I recommend watching the movie after reading this book if readers think this book is interesting.