The BFG is a book that would not be written today.
Why? Because of a change in social attitudes.
Back in 1982 – when the book was first published – parents didn’t worry too much about letting their kids go off on their own adventures around the local streets and parks. Like an outdoor cat, they’d mostly allow them to go away and do what they liked, as long as they were back home for dinner.
In 2016, what’s the first thing that spring to mind?
Be honest now…
You would assume that the BFG was a paedo.
It’s just the way we’re conditioned to think in a modern age of child kidnappings and sexual predators.
So throughout the first hour of the newly released film, where this vulnerable little orphan is stolen by the BFG, told she can never go back home, imprisoned in his house and given a new change of clothes from a suspiciously large assortment of children’s clothing he has at his disposal, you just think “Nonce!” at every turn.
And what’s also incredible is just how bad this movie is.
You’d think that a Steven Spielberg venture that has been promoted in cinemas since late 2015 would at the very least be decent, but alas not.
For one thing, there’s not enough to the book to justify a two hours of screen time, and that results in there being long periods where nothing happens, and then that nothingness gets repeated. While the BFG’s inability to speak properly might have some initial charm to it, you eventually just think “Oh for Christ’s sake, shut up” when he says words like “Dumblefluff” for the 800th time.
Meanwhile, the little girl – often found switching between 1950s BBC style received pronunciation and a thick Midlands accent within the same sentence – was also thoroughly obnoxious and not in any way the sort of person you’d want to see succeed. To a large extent she was either written or accidentally portrayed as a Veruca Salt type character – a character invented by the same author no-less – without the comeuppance.
The CGI was also surprisingly poor, with the BFG and his fellow giants looking more like cartoon characters than ‘real’ giants. I’d expect better in 2016.
And I don’t know who’s to blame for this, but while there’s no indication in terms of costume or environment that this movie is set in anything other than modern-day Britain, The Queen – who apparently lives alone – phones up Ronald and Nancy Reagan at one point.
A quick search indicates this is meant to be set in the 1980s, but there was nothing else in it to suggest that.
Anyway, as you can tell, I didn’t enjoy the BFG much.
But I’ll still have a chuckle at just how thick the undertones of noncery are, so there is that.