The BFG

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The BFG is a family fantasy film from 2016 directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg and based on the famous children’s book with the same name by Roald Dahl.
The BFG was one of my favorite books when I was very small, and I also love the animated British film adaptation of the book from 1989, so my expectations were..well, to be honest, I kind of expected to be disappointed. I feared that the screenplay had strayed too much from the original manuscript, and that the computerized special effects would spoil the magic of the story rather than add to it. But, to my great relief, I was pleasantly surprised.

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The film shows a great attention to detail, the backdrops of the scenes are filled with little things to feast your eye on. The special effects, even though quite obviously computerized, are not exaggerated or done slobbishly. But the one who stole my heart in the film is the outstanding performance of little Ruby Barnhill who plays the orphaned Sophie, the heroine of the story. She makes the film beautifully charming and is the perfect little Sophie.

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My favorite scenes are the Dream catching scene in Dream country and the breakfast scene with the queen in Buckingham Palace. Dream Country has been designed beautifully, both magical and mystical and very artistic. The breakfast with the queen is hilarious and has been given the time and necessary dialogue to create the same charming silliness as in the book.

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Some critics have mentioned, adult critics, that nothing happens in the film and that it is dull. That is exactly what I love about it. I was afraid that the catching of the Giants would be made into this big violent action scene stealing the film completely, but it hasn’t. It has been allowed to stay as small and funny as Roald Dahl wrote it. The film is not dull, but the magic, artistry and charm win over the action, and that is exactly how it is supposed to be.

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There are a few deviations from the book. Most of them are small and insignificant, and does not take anything away from the story, but, and this is a big but in my book, the ending is all wrong. Sophie is supposed to go and live with the the BFG! To me, that is the whole point, that she chooses a small life with the father figure she has come to love over a rich luxurious life with the queen. The ending gave me a bitter aftertaste, even though I still will say I loved the film.

So all in all, a big fat thumbs-up for The BFG. I highly recommend this movie to kids, families, and adults with a childlike mind and a big imagination (like me! 😄)

Image Credit: All the images are stills from the 2016 movie, The BFG

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Roald Dahl and me

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Roald Dahl is one of those authors who is so beloved that we quarrel over his Nationality. The British will claim he is theirs as he was born in Wales, whereas Norwegians will say he belongs to them since his parents were both from Norway. His name is certainly Norwegian (he was named after the Norwegian explorer Roald Ammundsen), and we know that he spent most of his childhood summers in Tjøme, Norway, with his extended family who lived there. This is where most of his stories in his autobiographical book “Boy” takes place.

When I was very small my parents used to read to me. All kind of books really, but I especially loved Fairy stories, and stories of a more fantastical character. I loved stories so much that I wanted to read them all the time, so by the time I was four years old, I taught myself to read. After that there was no stopping me. I skipped the picture books and I dived into the whole bibliography of Roald Dahl.

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In one year I read most of his children’s books. My favorites were “Matilda” ( Well, it was about a four year old girl who teaches herself to read and then discovers she has magical abilities!), “Charlie and the Chocolate factory”, “The BFG” and the “Witches”. “Matilda” got me interested in classics, like Charles Dickens, and I started reading the abridged children’s versions of “Oliver Twist” and “David Copperfield”.

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A couple of years later, when I was maybe 6 or 7, I watched the film “The Witches” based on Roald Dahl’s book. I watched it at my granny’s house with my cousins and we were all frightened to death by those super scary witches! To this day, I still feel that it is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen ( and I saw the “Jaws” movies around the same time!).

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My cousins and I were so inspired by the film, that we enacted many of the scenes in our make-believe games, and made up our own stories about witches, often featuring the local elderly ladies, and the ancient paintings my granny had of farms and farmer’s wives. We were just convinced we saw the ladies in those paintings move!

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When I was seven and started school I believed wholeheartedly that I could move things with my eyes, like Matilda in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”, and I was so ready for a Trunchbull to overcome!
That year I also started writing my own stories, and many of them were inspired by characters, ideas and plots from Roald Dahl’s magical books.

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Most of the kids in school read Roald Dahl’s books, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. We discussed his books during recess and swapped books if someone had a book someone else hadn’t read. I remember my best friends favorite book was “George’s marvelous medicine”.

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Roald Dahl and his magical universe is still inspiring me and my writing today. I have re-read “Matilda” many times, and I continue to take great pleasure in his wonderful books and his marvelous imagination. He is one of my childhood heroes, whose stories I have brought with me into adulthood and into my own stories.

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Image credit: All the art work is by the wonderful Quentin Blake. The stills are from the movie “The Witches”. The other pictures are from Wikimedia.