Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Trailer for Spielberg's "The BFG" Promises a Welcome Return to Kids Movies

Scene from The BFG
With the constant barrage of awards being announced in the weeks to come, it is likely that everyone is still thinking about director Steven Spielberg's impressive Cold War film Bridge of Spies. Among other things, it's an entertaining look into the attitudes of the era as well as the importance of understanding and humanity. However, the legendary director looks to remain busy with another film coming next year. It's the much touted adaptation of the Roald Dahl story "The BFG," which also features a script from the late E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial screenwriter Melissa Mathison; and is the director's first non-historical drama since 2011's The Adventures of Tintin. With the first trailer upon us, it's time to be expecting the friendlier Spielberg again. From the looks of it, it may very well be worth the wait.

Like most people, I have a respect for Spielberg and his massive filmography. It's impossible to find too much to dislike about his work. Even when I generally dislike his work (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence), I'm usually able to notice craft. I will admit that he's been a very interesting director in the drama department since he did Schindler's List over 20 years ago. He finds a deeper humanity that works. While I am not as wild about his family films, he definitely has an eye and clarity to what makes them work. I had no real expectations on The BFG going into this trailer, so it should be interesting to see what works and what doesn't.

Check out the trailer below:

It looks pretty good. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.
Admittedly, the description takes a little bit away from the peril of the trailer. I like the general idea behind the film however. Of course, I generally think that Dahl's work in general has made for some of the more interesting adaptations in film period. For instance, look at Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, or Fantastic Mr. Fox. All from the same author, but all distinct and different. There's something whimsical and creative in that naive, childlike way that just makes for a good story. I'll admit that the trailer doesn't sell me as much as the prospects of another Dahl story. 

Even then, I trust that Spielberg will wind it together nicely. My only concern is that this is a Disney film and thus has a certain sheen that many post-2010 tent pole movies have had for the studio. Adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Oz: The Great and Powerful feel like they are too reliant on computer effects. While not a lot is seen here, I still have a certain skepticism that this will be a little too heavy on them. It's an intriguing trailer, and one that I should applaud for hiding the mystery and only giving enough to entice. Even if this is not as good as the final product, it at least teases well enough to get me excited. That's all I really wanted.

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