Blu-ray Review: The BFG

Release Date: November 28, 2016
Rating: PG
Running Time: Approx. 118 minutes

Disney and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Walden Media, present the fantasy adventure film “The BFG,” the first-ever motion picture adaptation of Roald Dahl’s resonant tale of childhood, the magic of dreams and the extraordinary friendship between a young girl and a big friendly giant. Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, the film reunites the director with his Oscar®-nominated collaborator on “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Melissa Mathison, who adapted the children’s author’s timeless adventure for the big screen. “The BFG” is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Frank Marshall, p.g.a., and Sam Mercer, p.g.a., with Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Michael Siegel serving as executive producers. 

The film stars three-time Tony Award®, two-time Olivier Award and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant; newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, the orphan who befriends him and is swept into a world of rampaging giants; Penelope Wilton as The Queen; Jemaine Clement as Fleshlumpeater, the most fearsome giant from Giant Country; Rebecca Hall as Mary, The Queen’s handmaid; Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs, The Queen’s butler; and Bill Hader as Bloodbottler, another unruly giant from Giant Country.

The creative team is comprised of some of Spielberg’s longtime collaborators, including: two-time Oscar®-winning director of photography Janusz Kaminski; two-time Oscar-winning production designer Rick Carter; three time Oscar-winning editor Michael Kahn, A.C.E.; and Oscar-nominated costume designer Joanna Johnston, with legendary five-time Oscar winner John Williams composing his 24thscore for a Spielberg-directed film.

Joining them is two-time Oscar® winner Robert Stromberg as production designer and four-time Oscar winner Joe Letteri from Weta Digital, the visual effects company founded by Peter Jackson, as senior visual effects supervisor.


I haven’t opened up a copy of The BFG since I read and re-read it over and over again in the third grade. That said, there were moments in this film that brought me back to my third grade self. And it felt so good. This film was nostalgia for me and it was glorious. I was a child again, my imagination was re-ignited and I savored every moment.

Watching The BFG be brought to life by none other than Steven Spielberg, there were high expectations to be met. I think the cast and crew did a fantastic job. The writing was quiet and lovely, there were even a few heart tugging moments. It is Disney after all. That said, I do wish there had been more time to explore the friendship between The BFF and Sophie. It didn’t quite fall flat here but its heart could have used a few more beats. Alas, just read the book to get the full effect. The relationship aside, I think the messages explored here were great, including but not limited to dreaming, being afraid but doing what needs to be done anyway, and unconditional love.

Finally, the visuals were absolutely stunning. I was captivated by every shot, as we’re brought into the fantastical world of The BFG, a world that is so much greater than our own. The props department probably had a field day working on this project – talk about a dream job. The BFG reminds me of how wonderful it is to be able to sit back and rest in one’s own imagination. So if nostalgia and a reminder of pure imagination is what you’re need of, watch this film and add it to your collection today.

Bonus Features:
* Bringing The BFG to Life (Approx. 27:10 minutes) – This is the ultimate behind the scenes feature to The BFG as we get to hear from Roald Dahl’s daughter, Lucy, Steven Spielberg, Ruby Barnhill, and many more involved in the film. Ruby Barnhill tells us about her experience getting the part of Sophie. The crew talks about building the world of The BFG. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage throughout. Plainly put, if you enjoyed the film, you’ll appreciate this feature the most of them all.

Appearing in This Feature:
Daughter of Roald Dahl, Lucy Dahl
Executive Producers, Kathleen Kennedy, Kristie Macosko Krieger
Producers, Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer
Director/Producer, Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter, Melissa Mathison
Previs Creative Supervisor, Josh Wassung
Production Designers, Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg
Property Master, Jimmy Chow
Supervising Art Director, Grant Van Der Slagt
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri
Motion Capture Supervisor, Dejan Momcilovic
Visual Effects Supervisor, Guy Williams
Supervising Sound Dsigner / Re-Recording Mixer, Gary Rydstrom
Costume Designer, Joanna Johnston
Cast Members, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Rafe Spall, Rebecca Hall

* The Big Friendly Giant And Me (Approx. 2 minutes) – Before Sophie, there was a boy. A boy who spent time with The BFG and this animated short brings to life his story, or at least gives us a peek at it. If this had been even two more minutes longer, I think we would have gotten more out of it, as it stands, it’s not quite special.

* GobbleFunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG (Approx. 3:20 minutes) – This feature is more for the younger viewers, a somewhat interactive quiz on the vocabulary and life of The BFG and giants. One of the elements of The BFG that I loved so much was The BFG’s language and world so to get a fun world building exercise so to speak, was quite fun. This feature feels like it’s better suited to be called “Giants 101” but alas.

* Giants 101 (Approx. 5 minutes) – For an exciting behind the scenes look at the motion capture for the giants, this is the feature you’ve been waiting for.

Appearing in This Feature:
Producer, Frank Marshall
Director/Producer, Steven Spielberg
Senior Animation Supervisor, Jamie Beard
Movement Coach, Terry Notary
Cast Members, Jemaine Clement, Bill Hader, Paul Moniz de Sa, Michael David Adamthwaite, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson

* Melissa Mathison: A Tribute (Approx. 6 minutes) – This is a beautiful tribute to the late Screenwriter, Melissa Mathison who goes way back with Director/Producer, Steven Speilberg (Think E.T.). A lovely tribute, focusing on her work on The BFG and E.T., to a hard working and wonderful director.

Appearing in This Feature:
Executive Producers, Kathleen Kennedy, Kristie Macosko Krieger
Producer, Frank Marshall
Screenwriter, Melissa Mathison
Director/Producer, Steven Spielberg
Production Designers, Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg

Own The BFG on Digital HD, Blu-ray™, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand today.