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Dan Bernardi
[intro-text size=”25px”]Tired of the same monotonous review schemes, I volunteered for a series of alternative, high-tech experimental procedures. Monitored by the Director and crew, I am mentally displaced and implanted into a myriad of cinematic simulations, or “cims”. Fully absorbed for the duration of each run time, the sole mission is to report my findings from within the scenes. These reports are known as Total Review.[/intro-text]

– CIM #1008 – “The BFG” – 117 mins. – release: July 1st, 2016 –

As I enter the lab, I’m flooded with nostalgia. This week’s cim, The BFG, is a double whammy. It’s based on the children’s book by one of my favorite authors growing up, Roald Dahl, and the adaptation is directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Growing up, both were partially responsible for the creative cluster-fuck that my brain has become, so I was positive that a meeting of their minds would certainly be a masterpiece. I’m wired into the cimulator and the adventure begins.

Suddenly, everything feels simple. I’m wearing a set of striped pajamas, laying in bed at an orphanage in England. I’m a kid again, and everything is different through a child’s eyes. For one thing, it’s easier to be scared silly, and I’m in an arguably terrifying situation. I watch one of the other orphans, a precocious young girl named Sophie, up to her usual shenanigans, creep around after lights-out. Sophie sees a massive shadow out the window, and it sees her back. A giant the size of Big Ben rushes up to our building and snatches us away and runs for the hills.

The giant introduces himself as the BFG and takes us to a place called Giant Country. It’s a beautiful, massive, sprawling countryside where giants live, frolic, and eat beans- a fairytale heaven if it weren’t for the fact that “beans” are actually human beings. It’s horrifying to be the favorite snack of a group of hungry behemoths with names like Fleshlumpeater, Bloodbottler, and Childchewer, and while we’re fortunate enough to be under the protection of the BFG, he’s also the runt of the litter. It’s only a matter of time before the other giants barge in for a bite to eat. And in this world, I’m bite-sized.

We stay nestled and hidden in the BFG’s cluttered home. Sophie shares my fear of the other giants, but she’s much braver than I and quite clever for her age. She makes fast friends with the BFG and the more time I spend with him, the more I like him too. He’s an orphan in his own right… an outcast loner who gets his words twizzled every now and then, relentlessly bullied by his fearsome peers. But the BFG earned his F for being kind, charming, and usually hilarious, especially when he’s enjoying his favorite fizzy drink, frobscottle. And the BFG’s notorious whizpopping isn’t the strangest thing.

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In this world, the bubbles float the wrong way, and dreams are tangible entities that can be caught and kept, chopped and screwed, and sent back into minds and brought to life. From my microscopic perspective, anything is possible in Giant Country, which must mean that something can be done about the man-eating giants and their unchecked snatch-and-feast antics. With the help of Sophie, the BFG, and all the Queen’s army, we just may be able to restore peace to both lands, giant and human.

When the cim was complete, I was exhausted by the journey. There wasn’t anything exceptionally groundbreaking in this gorgeous piece of eye-candy, but The BFG was a faithful adaptation of Dahl’s original story. It’s moving and touching in a standard family-geared manner, but one situation in particular had me laughing out loud with tears in my eyes. If you’re in for an occasionally dark but whimsical experience to get back in touch with your inner child, The BFG is one not to miss.

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