Steven Spielberg‘s latest fantasy film, “The BFG,” opened July 1, just a few months after “Bridge of Spies” became the director’s 10th film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Because of the academy’s general bias against sci-fi and fantasy films, though, most of Spielberg’s biggest awards contenders are historical dramas like “Schinder’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Munich” and “Spies.” Only two of Spielberg’s Best Picture nominated films were fantasies: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) and “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” (1982).
“The BFG” has received some strong reviews, scoring 66 on MetaCritic and 73% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. That doesn’t necessarily indicate an “E.T.”-level classic, but the combined power of Spielberg and his recently Oscar-anointed muse Mark Rylance (who claimed Best Supporting Actor for “Spies”) could keep this film on the academy’s radar by year’s end, especially in below-the-line races like Best Visual Effects.
Read four of the best reviews for the film below, and click here to discuss this film and more in our forums.
Peter Debruge (Variety): “No matter how fantastical the tale (and it gets pretty out-there at points), this splendid Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation makes it possible for audiences of all ages to wrap their heads around one of the unlikeliest friendships in cinema history, resulting in the sort of instant family classic ‘human beans’ once relied upon Disney to deliver.”
Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “With ‘The BFG’ — which opens in July in the United States, and which is playing out of competition here in Cannes — Spielberg gets the tone just right. An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book about a giant — a Big Friendly one, that is — who befriends a little orphan girl, ‘The BFG’ is a big picture, all right. This ambitious blend of live action and computer animation runs the risk of being overwhelming and sterile, but it turns out to be a pleasing and sweet-natured adventure thanks in large part to Spielberg’s big, friendly secret weapon: Mark Rylance, as the BFG himself.”
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): “A typically distinctive, eccentric and seductive star performance from Mark Rylance absolutely makes this movie what it is. This is the latest work from director Steven Spielberg, adapted from the Roald Dahl children’s story by the late Melissa Mathison; it is the final screenplay from the author of ‘E.T.’ — to which this has obvious resemblances.”
Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “‘I had a dream last night.’ The words arrive near the end of ‘The BFG,’ and while they are thankfully not to be mistaken for that oldest of story-upending clichés (‘It was all a dream’), they nonetheless linger like a melancholy echo over the whimsical high spirits of Steven Spielberg’s new movie. In ways both obvious and elusive, the curious logic of dreams is crucial to appreciating this technologically astounding if predictably sweetened adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 novel.”