Published On: Sat, May 14th, 2016

Spielberg’s awaited ‘Big Friendly Giant’ premiers at Cannes


Steven Spielberg said he still believes in magic as he premiered his whizzpopping, swizzfiggling “BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) in Cannes on Saturday, to a mixed reception from critics.

Cannes (France) (AFP)

Both adult “human beans” and “chiddlers” — children in the often befuddled giant’s vocabulary — were eagerly awaiting Spielberg’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved story, in the director’s first movie for Disney.

Spielberg described the fantastical tale of a giant who snatches a frightened young Sophie from an orphanage and takes her to live with him in Giant Country as “probably the closest I have ever come to telling a love story.”

Sophie quickly realises the giant — the runt of the litter he comes from — is a gentle vegetarian who tries to save her from the “canny-ball” giants with names like Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeater.

“All of us have to believe in magic. The worse the world gets the more magic we have to believe in — that magic will give us hope and… hope is everything for me,” Spielberg told reporters after a press screening of the film.

– Instant family classic –


AFP / Laurent Emmanuel
US actress Ruby Barnhill smiles during a press conference for “The BFG” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in southern France, on May 14, 2016

The Guardian hailed the performance of Mark Rylance — who starred in Spielberg’s last film “Bridge of Spies” — as the gentle giant, in the “beautifully wrought” adaptation.

And Variety said the “splendid… 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.”

However others struggled to wake their inner child, with The Wrap website saying it “misses the magic”.

The Hollywood Reporter meanwhile said “BFG” was a “conspicuously less captivating, magical and transporting experience” than Spielberg’s much-loved 1982 film “E.T.”.

Spielberg, who used to read the “BFG” to his seven children, said that with this movie, he was revisiting his past love for “stories from the imagination”.

“When I do history movies the imagination has to be put aside. I felt liberated, I felt like I could do anything on this and it brought back feelings I had as a younger filmmaker.”

AFP / Laurent Emmanuel
British actors Mark Rylance and Rebecca Hall attend a press conference for “The BFG” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in southern France, on May 14, 2016

The movie was a long time coming, and has been tinged with sadness, with the death of Melissa Mathison, who adapted the book, and who also wrote the script for E.T. last year, aged 65.

And producers also initially wanted to cast Robin Williams as the giant before his death in 2014.

“It was a tremendous challenge to have the technology catch up with our ability to tell the story in the way we did,” said producer Kathleen Kennedy.

– Disgusting snockcumbers –

The book remains true to Dahl’s work — with a few tweaks along the way — which has the giant taking Sophie along with him as he catches dreams and releases them among sleeping humans.

Tired of the other bully giants, who eat children while BFG has to eat disgusting snockcumbers, Sophie and the giant ask the queen to help deal with them.

It was the scenes at Buckingham palace that drew the most laughs: The awkward giant is served a delicious breakfast, but has the queen, her guards and corgis all “whizzpopping” (farting) when he offers them a drink of his gas-inducing frobscottle.

“We will see what the queen thinks when the time comes won’t we,” said Spielberg, whose superyacht “The Seven Seas” is parked off the French Riviera for the 12-day festival.

Dahl dedicated his book — which became an instant bestseller when it was published in 1982 — to his daughter, Olivia, who had died of measles encephalitis two decades earlier.

Dahl, a fighter pilot and spy who also scripted James Bond movies, wrote some of the most loved children’s literature of the last century.

Several of his books, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “James and the Giant Peach” and “Matilda”, have already been turned into major films.


News Source TheCitizen

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology