24 FRAMES WITH STEVE VERTLIEB:
Views On Film:
24 FRAMES - WITH STEVE VERTLIEB
"LOST HORIZONS" AND JADED AUDIENCES:
WTF! ABOUT "THE BFG"?
SPIELBERG'S SUBLIME ADAPTATION OF ROALD DAHL'S CLASSIC NOVEL ABOUT ACCEPTANCE ...
STRUGGLES TO FIND SOME
THE BFG (2016)
(Walt Disney, Amblin, Reliance Ent., Walden Media, The Kennedy / Marshall Co.)
GullCottage rating (***** on a scale of 1 - 5)
Dir. by - Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by - Melissa Mathison
Based on the Novel by - Roald Dahl
Prod. by - Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall,
Sam Mercer / Exec. Prods. - Kathleen Kennedy, Micheal Siegel, Kristie Krieger
Dir. Of Photography - Janusz Kaminski
Edited by - Michael Kahn
Production Design by - Rick Carter,
Costume Design by - Joanna Johnston
Music by - John Williams
Running Time: 117 mins.
BFG (Mark Rylance), Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), The Queen (Penelope Wilton), Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement),
Mary (Rebecca Hall), Mr. Tibbs (Rafe Spall), Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), Maidmasher / Cook (Olafur Darri Olafsson), Manhugger / Lout #1 (Adam Godley), Butcherboy / Danish Driver (Michael David Adamthwaite), Bonecruncher /
Lout #2 (Daniel Bacon), Childchewer / Pub Landlord (Jonathan Holmes), Gizzardgulper / Late Night Walker
(Chris Gibbs), Meatdripper / Lout #3 (Paul Moniz de Sa), Matt Frewer (General #2)
Okay, okay, ... enough about the title. But it did garner your attention, did it not?
Quite simply (and then again, not so simply) I wanted to share my thoughts on Disney's "The BFG". Steven Spielberg’s wonderfully intelligent and sensitive direction of this magical cinematic gem, as well as its deeply felt, and moving musical score by our greatest living film composer, John Williams, conjoin sweetly to create the finest example of a modern motion picture fantasy this writer has seen in some time. While most critics (very often the most jaded of viewers) appeared kind to the summer fantasy film, it was largely (ironically) ignored by audiences. Pandemic speculation abounds as to why. And following are two of the most prevalent theories which have been making the media rounds - neither of them to which I agree, BTY (by the way). And both of which I will shoot down in defense of this singularly miraculous adventure / fantasy.
FIRST - It has been postulated that Disney and Spielberg's reverent
adherence to Roald Dahl's original title may have "confused" film goers,
thus turning families against this obviously family intended motion
picture. But if we, as a society, have become so illiterate as to not be
able to see beyond three simple letters in a title to the glorious
imagery captured so enchantingly by Spielberg, Williams, and a wonderful
cast of actors, then I begin to wonder if we ourselves haven't begun to
succumbed to the pandemic fear of intelligence and sophistication which
is currently paralyzing the nation both politically and
philosophically. The poster art, advertising, and trailers for the
Disney release, not to mention the studio “brand” itself, clearly
identified it as a family friendly movie. It’s difficult to imagine
that anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear could have misconstrued the
content or family friendly message of this Steven Spielberg Summer
attraction. Let's remember there was another Spielberg film, with just
two letters for its title, during the Summer of 1982 which had no
trouble attracting either a reputation or
audience - “ET" anyone?
While each new abysmal action film franchise garners billions of dollars across the globe, a sweet, gentle family fantasy like "The BFG" has now, sadly, been deemed a commercial "bomb" by industry standards. And this is a tragedy, for Spielberg's film of the classic British children's novel is a joy on every imaginable artistic level.