BFG: Dahl remake ‘too childish’, say critics

Giant investment: The film cost £106m to make. © Walt Disney Studios

The BFG should have been one of the biggest films of the summer — in more ways than one. Families enjoyed Roald Dahl’s classic tale on screen. But some film reviewers were unsure. Why?

What’s happening

Summer is an exciting time for film fans. With children away from school, it is the perfect moment to release the best kids’ movies. This year, The BFG was set to be a hit. It had a heartwarming story, amazing special effects, and it was made by the world’s most famous filmmaker: Steven Spielberg.

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The BFG was written by the popular children’s author Roald Dahl. It is a ‘wondercrump’ tale of a young orphan, Sophie, who is taken on a magical adventure to Giant Country by the Big Friendly Giant. He shows her disgusting snozzcumbers and whizzpopping soda, and together they even pay a visit to the queen. At its heart is a sweet story about an unusual friendship.

The film’s producers were sure that it would be a popular choice for families over the summer holidays. But the film did not do as well as they expected.

‘Unlike a lot of films released for the holidays, The BFG really is a direct mailshot to nine-year-olds,’ said one critic. Others called it ‘whimsical and insubstantial’ and warned that adults would find it ‘too childish’.

Some say…

The best children’s films can be enjoyed by everyone — no matter how old or young. Just think of The Lion King, which is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or Harry Potter, which has millions of grown up fans around the world. Perhaps the BFG should have tried a bit harder to win over the mums and dads who buy their children’s cinema tickets.

Others think…

Why spoil a good children’s story with confusing jokes or sad themes? Childhood innocence should be cherished, not mocked by killjoy film critics. Perhaps these cynical adults could learn something from the pure joy and silliness of The BFG. There are enough films for grown ups as it is; let children be themselves, and have their own fun.

You Decide

  1. If you saw The BFG: did you enjoy it? If not: would you like to?

Activities

  1. Write a review of your favourite film. Include a sentence about whether adults will like it too.

Some People Say...

“Most grown ups have forgotten what it is like to be a kid.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Steven Spielberg
The director also made ET and Jurassic Park.
Roald Dahl
The author also wrote Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Wondercrump
The BFG uses lots of made up words. This one means ‘wonderful’.
Snozzcumbers
A fictional vegetable.
Mailshot
Promotional mail sent to lots of people. The writer is implying that the film is not very important.
Whimsical
Silly but charming.
Insubstantial
Not very strong.
Cynical
Someone who always assumes the worst.

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