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Roald Dahl Day: The BFG (1989)

When I was young I wanted to be like Sophie. Perhaps it was because as a child, I had massive rounded glasses and a short haircut. Perhaps it’s because I had a wild imagination that I fed with dreams of magic and fantasy. Or maybe I was just so entranced by the young tale of a child being taken to a different world with the friendliest of giants. Either way, I was transfixed with Roald Dahl’s epic and grand tale. I consumed the 1989 carton movie with fervent admiration, especially as it was first shown on my very first birthday.

To celebrate 100 years of Roald Dahl and all his written glory, it feels apt to be speaking about the movie that caught my heart for 27 years.

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The made-for-television animated film is crafted by Danger Mouse director Brian Cosgrove and captured a whole generation of children. Based on the acclaimed book by Dahl, of course, it revolves around a young orphan named Sophie who, whilst up on a lonely night, encounters The BFG – a big friendly giant. Though small for his kin, the giant is a kind-natured creature who cooks up dreams for humans so that they may find peace, love, and solace in the world within their brain. However, not all of his kind are as good as him, and they wish to gobble up all the children of the world. Not before the Sophie and The BFG can stop them!

The animation may seem redundant against the backdrop of the developed motion capture film of 2016 but there is a lot of warmth, attention and fantastic vibrancy to be had with Cosgrove’s work. Using a variety of colour and a spectacular amount of charm, the sequences of spells and dreams enthuse with the wonder beyond your wildest visions. Cosgrove enhances a homely style with enchantment. Yet still, he evocatively and scarily portrays the demons at bay with sinister moments and children gorging giants that are unforgettably seared in this here noggin.

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Ruby Barnhill’s recent exploration of Sophie is a plus for the latest adaptation of Roald Dahl’s epic work. In the nineties animated version, though tender and sweet as it is, the voice by Amanda Root is quaint, posh, and infuriating at times – often stiff against the invigorating storyline and captive animated sequence. However, David Jason’s work as the titular character is perhaps the best (sorry, Mark Rylance.) The stunted vocabulary is sweetened by attention and care, wondrous and pleasing in his love and devotion to humanity. And who could deny the absolutely fantastic Whizzpopping song? It’s a tune about farting and the great feeling it gives you. As child, it’s the best thing ever. As an adult, sill humorous.

The BFG may not have the whopping effects of the recent outing but caught the charms and love of Roald Dahl’s novel without simplifying the tale for the young-uns. At nearly 27 years of age, the film has not dwindled from the magic first crafted by Cosgrove, Root, and Jason. May it live on in all of our dreams


Happy Roald Dahl Day!

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