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Roald Dahl's The BFG: Big Friendly Giant (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1989 / Director: Brian Cosgrove / Actors: David Jason, Amanda Root ... / DVD released 25 July, 2006 at A&E Home Video / Features of the DVD: Animated, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC

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    8 Reviews
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      12.04.2010 23:28
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      Tale of giants and humans from the quirky pen of Roald Dahl, animated for the screen

      I vaguely remember watching this many years ago when I was a kid, and when it was on the other week, my son and I watched it, and bits of it came flooding back. The story of the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is one of my favourites of Roald Dahl's tales, and I could remember the basic tale, just not the ins and outs.It's a story of orphan girl Sophie who hates the orphanage she lives in and the people who look after her.

      One night, she spots a giant outside outside, and he takes her for fear of her talking about him. However, it turns out he is a Big Friendly Giant, and it's the other giants who are the dangerous ones. Together, they try and work out a way the giants can be beaten.

      The first thing I noticed about the film was how dated the animation looks. It was made in 1989, and although you can see the film trying to use fancy visuals, it all pales in comparison with what we get these days from companies such as Pixar and DreamWorks. That having been said, the animation is endearing, and easy on the eye. It flows quite well. The animation of the giants is well done, particularly the facial features of the VFG, which give him a welcoming Granddad look about him.

      The story is really interesting, too. It does stick close to the original book, and the various giants are well described. There is a nice blend of drama, with some heightened scare levels at times, albeit mild, and the story doesn't linger. The pace is very good, at this is vital in keeping kids' attention, particularly through a film that can't necessarily rely on swanky cartoon special effects. It flows nicely without seeming to skim the surface. You get a full story but at a good pace.

      David Jason is the recognisable voice of the BFG, and he does a very good job. The voice matches the visual character very well, with lots of emotion and feeling in his voice, perhaps even more than were he the one appearing visually on stage. I liked his portrayal of the BFG. Dahl's quirky notions were often quite surreal on the page, and Jason's voice helps the animation deliver it in a quirky fashion as well.

      At around the hour and a half mark, this is quite a good length film for kids, especially considering the pace it goes at. The interesting names the other, more dangerous giants get are creative, as is the plot itself. Sophie gets to experience a bit of the giants' world, and then the BFG gets to spend time with 'human bean' in her own environment. They even have a trip to see the Queen! It does leave quite an intense conclusion, dramatic for sure, but enjoyable as well. There are a couple of moments when some of the more vicious giants are rumbling at the camera, almost, and these did make my son shy away a bit, but they're followed by a little snippet of a comment that'll make you chuckle, and the comedy element comes in.

      Overall, this is an enjoyable TV adaptation of a Roald Dahl classic. I found it rather dated in terms of the animation, but the story and the way it was told is very endearing. I would say it's a good one for kids to have, although you shouldn't expect something amazing. It's a very good story, told well, but nothing special, on the whole.

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        02.04.2010 16:04
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        An enjoyable watch

        When I saw this was showing on TV today I just had to watch it as it brings back so many happy memories from childhood. The film is of course based on the wonderful book by Roald Dahl. Because I watched it on TV this is a film only review.

        Little Sophie lives in an orphanage, she hates the orphanage and the woman who runs it is very mean. One night she cannot sleep and witnesses a giant prowling the streets outside. When he notices her he has to snatch her in fear of her telling others what she has seen. Naturally, Sophie is terrified but she has no need to be as this is the BFG - the Big Friendly Giant and he is not like the other giants.

        So Sophie settles down to life in Giant Country, she hates the food and is still a bit wary of the giant, however they begin to form a very firm friendship and we learn that the BFG is growing very fond of Sophie. He protects her from the other giants and tells her about what he does at night. The BFG delivers dreams to children but the other giants always follow in the hope of eating the children. Sophie thinks this is terrible and comes up with a plan to stop the giants.

        I quite enjoyed this film, I will be honest I had much better memories from when I was a child but nevertheless I still thought this was a very strong film and one that could be enjoyed by the whole family. The film is animated and this is the one thing about the film that gives away when it was made (1989) as it does look quite outdated and a bit tired compared to todays releases.

        However, I think the plot of the film is fantastic and it does stay very closely to the plot of the book. The plot flows well and it keeps a fast pace which in my opinion is very good as the film is aimed at children and therefore their attention must be kept.

        I really liked the character of Sophie she was very sweet and innocent and had a very big heart. The portrayal of her with ginger hair and glasses made her look like a normal child who just wanted to be loved. The BFG was fantastic in providing her with this love and it was great to see such a big person warm to a child so much in such a short space of time!

        The film is not scary so you can let your kids watch it without worrying, even though there are the nasty giants, the BFG reminds us all that there are also kind giants and we never really see the giants in action.

        The film runs for 87 minutes which I think is a brilliant time for a childrens film as any longer and they wouldnt be able to keep their attention. The film seems to go quite quickly and I found it hard to believe that I had been watching for an hour and a half.

        Overall I enjoyed this film as it reminded me of my childhood. I think it is great for children as it has a lovely plot and is an enjoyable watch.

        The film stars David Jason and Amanda Root
        It was released in 1989
        It runs for 87 minutes
        It is rated a UK U
        The DVD is available from Amazon for £8.50 but I'm sure if you shop around you will be able to pick it up for much less

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          26.01.2010 14:15
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          Faithful animated musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's much loved book

          Orphan Sophie is drawn to her window one night during the "Witching Hour". There she spies a mysterious gigantic translucent figure blowing a large trumpet looking object into the bedrooms of houses down her road. She is spotted and snatched from her bed. Lucky for Sophie, however, her abductor is the world's only non-child eating giant: The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). He whisks her off to Giant Country, where she is introduced to a magical, wondrous and terrifying world. Here she learns about dream-catching, which is what the BFG does in order to mix together dreams to blow into the bedrooms of boys and girls. The BFG also reveals the other inhabitants of his land, the nine evil giants who visit Earth to eat children. Sophie realizes that something has to be done and comes up with a plan to thwart these monstrous creatures once and for all...

          It's a very simple and fun story based on the Roald Dahl children's classic of 1982 that appalled my mother, but I loved. Dahl very much spoke to my generation before political correctness kicked into overdrive round about when he died in 1988. His stories were written from a child's perspective, pushing matters to the edge with their free use of murderous and, in this case, cannibalistic villains as well as some of the less polite aspects of human behaviour, in this case flatulence, which is celebrated in the "whizzpopper".

          This 1989 made-for-TV British film is generally animated in a straightforward and unpretentious style. It is surprisingly very loyal to its source material, not adding any new characters or cutting out anything major from the plot. The main artwork of the picture is heavily inspired by regular Roald Dahl illustrator, Quentin Blake's work, with some brief peculiar psychedelic interludes. It is the psychedelic sections - used to depict the BFG's ethereal travels to and from Giant Country and also to show Dream Country - that is reminiscent of American 1960s animation such as "A Boy Named Charlie Brown". Unfortunately for the BFG these contrasting sequences, particularly the during the dream catching scene, detract rather than compliment the more straightforward and simplistic animation in the rest of film. They also present a type of eeriness when this not what they are trying to convey.

          Well-loved British comedy actor, David Jason, voices the BFG. As a shameless name-dropping aside my father had the privilege of working with him on a few assignments, most notably "A Touch of Frost", and I enjoyed bitching about "U571" with him over a meal once. In the 1980s David Jason provided the voice for one of my favourite cartoons, "Dangermouse", and he also voiced the lead character of the spin-off series, "Duckula". 1989 just missed me and this would have been a nice sign-off for the TV I had grown up with. For example, the songs in the film were written by Malcolm Rowe and Keith Hopwood of Pluto Studios who had originally written for "Alias the Jester" and "Wind in the Willows", which brings back more charming memories from my primary school years.

          The film was originally intended for a theatrical release, but was quickly downgraded for television. This doesn't take away the film's charm, but it is noticeably not an "event" film despite being a very popular children's book and enjoyed very good video sales. The DVD is quite sparse with its bonus features. The only notable extra being an exploration of the "Dream Cave", which might have some charm for the younger viewers, but as I previously mentioned, this animation was never a highlight of the film anyway and it has dated far more than the simple 2D work.

          Overall the BFG is a great family viewing and a very faithful adaptation of a much-loved children's book. It's funny, exciting and contains some fun songs. It is not overly long and the morals contained are fairly universal and aren't preachy in their execution. The BFG makes a refreshing change from the slew of 3D and CGI orientated stuff being churned out in recent years.

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            18.04.2009 20:41
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            A good animation based on a children's classic!

            THe BFG is an excellent animated film made in 1990 and based on the wonderful story by Roald Dahl.. It tells the story of a little orphan girl called Sophie, who looking out of her bedroom window one night, spots a giant. He realises that he has been spotted and before she knows it she is scooped up in his hand and taken away to Giant Land. She is, unsurprisingly, very frightened, until he explains that:

            'I is not like all the others. I is a nice giant. I is a freaky giant. I is the Big Friendly Giant!'

            There are, however, nine other giants in Giant Land who are nowhere as nice as the BFG though. They go by the names of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumper and Butcher Boy, to name a few, and they are nasty hideous creatures who go round eating 'human beans'. The BFG only eats snozzcumbers which taste disgusting.

            The BFG spends his days catching lovely dreams for boys and girls, and each night he goes and blows them into their bedrooms. When, they realsie that the other giants have a nasty scheme to eat up lots of boys and girls, Sophie asks the BFG to concoct a dream for the Queen of England to warn her about what is happening. There follows a daring attack by the army and air force in an attempt to capture the giants and to save all the children of the world. I'm not going to tell you what happens as that would spoil the end but I will say that this is a children's film so what do you think??

            As the film was made in 1989 the animation is hardly as sophisticated as we would expect today but it does have a certain charm about it. It's also a Cosgrove Production for Thames Television. Some of the scenes, such as in the cave where all the dreams are kept, are quite magical with lots of glittering, shimmering lights. Giant Land does not look as scary as you would expect and has an almost mystical feel about it. The BFG at first looks quite scary, That is until he smiles and you see a twinkle in his eye. However, the way all the other giants are depicted are quite hideous with lots of unsightly bellies, mean eyes and saliva dripping mouths. You certainly would not want to meet any of those on a dark night!

            Although this film is obviously aimed at children, it really is quite scary in places, especially every time that the horrible giants appear, and some children of a nervous disposition might be quite disturbed. I watched this film with my almost six year old daughter and although she really enjoyed it there were quite a few moments when she was trying to hide behind my sleeve! There are some very funny moments as well and I would say that over all children are likely to be laughing more than they are likely to be hiding as they watch this film.

            The voices are supplied by some very good British actors and noteably it is David Jason (Delboy in Only Fools and Horses) who speaks as the BFG. He makes the BFG sound lovely and is particularly good at speaking in the BFG's rather strange dialect where he seems to mix up a lot of his grammar and makes up lots of words such as 'disgusterous'. Angela Thorne, Mollie Sugden and Frank Thornton supply some of the other voices and these are all very good especially Angela Thorne who sounds exactly like the queen! Interestingly an actress called Amanda Root supplies the voice of Sophie and she would have been aged about twenty six when she was supplying the voice of a small child. I have to say that I couldn't tell though and it really did sound like a small girl speaking!

            I do think that the idea of this film is really going to appeal to young children. It's likely to be one that they will enjoy time and again provided they can get over the scary bits! My daughter particularly likes the ideas of all the lovely dreams and that has really captured her imagination.

            We have watched it a few times on DVD and there are a few extras including some interactive games that my daughters have tried and enjoyed. Also, you can just see the few songs that are featured in the film but there aren't many.

            Overall I would recommend this film as one that will appeal to children, particularly as it captures the magic of the Roald Dahl story so well.

            The film has a U classification and at the moment it can be bought on Amazon for £5.99.

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              30.08.2007 16:40
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              a great adaptation which anyone can enjoy

              Having been a roald dahl fan since the first time I read George's Marvellous Medicine at age 7, of course I think this cartoon adaptation is brilliant. The story follows the adventures of a little girl from an orphanage who accidentally befriends a giant when she spies him out of her bedroom window stealing dreams from people in the middle of the night. Thankfully for her he is the big FRIENDLY giant and takes her back to the land of the giants where he is in danger of being eaten by the not so friendly giants........

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                23.12.2001 21:31
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                Last night I decided to watch The BFG. After all, I had nothing better to do with my Monday evening before Cold Feet and in my economics lesson that day, someone had said they'd watched it on Channel Five the night before. I adore animations. I have every Disney video ever made (pretty much, I'm a couple short though) not to mention 62 cuddly toys and beanies and a whole load of Disney soundtracks. Anyway, that's not the point - because I enjoy animations so much, a friend bought me a copy of The BFG a couple of years back. OK, it's not Disney but it's still great fun. And if you care to read on, I'll tell you why... **~~WHO IS THE BFG?~~** Don't tell me you've never heard of the BFG! He was invented by Roald Dahl (my favourite writer as a kiddy). He writes amazing, truly original books for children about completly wild things. The BFG happens to be all about a certain giant - The Big Friendly Giant! **~~WHAT HAPPENS?~~** I won't give too much away in case you haven't seen this wonderful film or read the even more wonderful book. Basically, this is what happens: You meet Sophie, a geeky yet sweet little orphan girl who sees a Big Ugly giant in her street one dark night. He snatches her from her bed and whisks her away to Giant Country. Naturally, the poor little love is very frightened but once the BFG explains that he isn't like other giants and doesn't eat humans, they become great friends. Ahhhh. All the other giants in Giant Country eat human beings and every night, they go and eat lots of little boys and girls which the BFG thinks is terrible. The BFG shows Sophie Dream Country where he goes every night to catch dreams to give to little boys and girls (that's what he was doing in Sophie's street that night). Sophie then thinks of a brilliant plan (can't tell you what it is...don't want to give it away!) to stop all the horrible, man-eating giants. D
                on't worry, it's a nice ending! Anyway, that's the story in brief. It'a really great story - all magical and exciting! **~~WHAT'S THE ANIMATION LIKE?~~** Compared to Disney, the animation isn't particularly good! But then, I would say that! No, honestly, the animation is not the quality you may see in other films but it's different which makes it nice. The lips aren't always totally in sync but it's got a nice 'artistic' feel about it! The pictures are proper drawings - nothing computerised about this film! **~~WHO'S IN IT AND WHAT ARE THEY LIKE?~~** David Jason stars as The BFG and does it very well indeed! The BFG is a really comical and somewhat bizarre character. Because he has had no formal education he has taught himself to read and write. He uses fab words like "Redunculous" and "jabbelling". The other giants have great names too like 'Fleshlumpeater' and 'Meatdripper'. In the whole, the voices are full of life and fun. **~~IS THERE ANY MUSIC IN THE FILM?~~** Yep. Have you ever been the Chessington World of Adventures and been on the Professors Bubble Works? Well, the music in The BFG reminds me of that! There's also a couple of great songs, my favourite is called 'Whizzpop' which is SOOOO catchy and you won't be able to get it out of your head! "Whizz POP Whizz BANG! Feel the bubbles go down! Whizz BANG Whizz POP! Bursting all around!" I guess you have to know the tune! **~~WHO WILL ENJOY IT?**~~ I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this film! It's mainly for kids and is rated 'U'. I suppose it could be a bit scary for really ickle kids though - don't want them having nightmares! If you've got young children, you might want to watch it with them the first time or read the book to them first. It's quite old now
                but it's one of those classic stories that will never really date! **~~WHERE CAN I GET IT?~~** I've just looked and you can get it on Amazon for £8.99! BARGAIN! It's really good film to have if you've got children or just love Roald Dahl stuff! **~~AND OVERALL?~~** It's a good film that you can enjoy time and time again. Or at least, one of those films that when you're ill you can curl up on the sofa and watch (like Mary Poppins!).

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                  23.07.2001 21:42
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                  The other day when baby sitting for a friend we watched a film called "The BFG". I was not familiar with this film and thought it was going to be a boring kiddys film but in fact it was a good film. The story line goes that some big giants are stealing lots of children for their food. These giants must be stopped. The saving of the children gets down to one little girl, called Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant. The Big friendly giant goes around mixing dreams and giving them to sleeping people. With the help of a bit of magic, the queen, the armies and a lot of hard work the giants are stopped from committing their terrible deeds. The film is a funny cartoon, but scary in places. It can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, however I would not want to watch this film too often. The children watch it regularly!

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                    12.02.2001 22:24
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                    The Big Friendly Giant A magical tale originally penned by Roald Dahl, and brought to life by the wonderful animators at Cosgrove Hall, also famous for their Thomas the Tank Engine films and videos.Under the direction of Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall. 88 minutes long and rated in the U category, this film is suitable for all, young and old alike. A real must for Dahl fans all over the world. Having read the book, it was with some trepidation that I bought the video; costing £10 this film is excellent value for money. Available in most good video retailers and WHSmiths. If you don’t know the plot, and haven’t read the book, then this is the place to stop. Sophie is a little bespectacled orphan girl living in Miss Clonkers orphanage, not a pleasant place with cruel punishments for ill doings. One night Sophie awakens and creeps to her window, where to her disbelief she spies a giant leaning in another window with a strange trumpet to his mouth. The giant blows something into the window, and is startled by Sophie’s presence. Sophie hides under her bedclothes but is captured by the Giant who spirits her away and flies off to Giant country. Their adventure begins. Convinced that the Giant will eat her, Sophie is very surprised to learn that not only is the strange big eared kindly faced Giant a vegetarian, he suffers disgusterous and sickable Snozzcumber, (Giant fruit apparently gross tasting)the is called The Big Friendly Giant(BFG for short),he is the smallest resident of Giant country, unlike his counterparts The Bone Cruncher, Blood Bottler, Butcher boy, Child Chewer, Flesh lump eater, Man hugger, Maid masher, meat dripper, and Trogglehumper , who relish eating humans most nights. Sophie is almost discovered and narrowly evades capture by hiding in the afore mentioned Snozzcumber, disgusted by the taste, the Trogglehumper spews the contents of his mouth, Sophie included on the BFGs fl
                    oor. Thirsty after her ordeal, the BFG offers Sophie some frogscottle, a fizzy drink with strange tendencies, the bubbles go down instead of up, resulting in the Whizzpopping sensation.(Farts to yoo and me)It is hilarious as the BFG and Sophie bottom burp to the ceiling and back singing a catchy tune.”Whizz pop, Whizz bang, feel the bubbles go down, Whizz bang, whiz pop bouncing all around”, so so funny, and not a pardon me in sight. BFG takes Sophie to his most secret place, Dream country, where they capture dreams, the good to bottle and to give to young children, and the bad to be locked away in a safe place.The only other song in the film is sung in Dream country,(Somewhere Secretly). As the story unfolds you cannot help but like the lovable BFG, whose intentions are honest and pure, and who hides Sophie whenever possible. The BFG discovers a plot to eat the children of a school, and desperate to help Sophie, and the BFG concoct a special dream to give to the Queen of England while she slept(In Buckingham, Palace of course) Worried by her dream, she had imagined that a young girl was sat on her windowsill, and that Giants were roaming the country-eating children. Her fears are realised with the front-page newspaper article presented to her with her breakfast. Convinced that her dream was true the Queen asks if there is a small girl on the windowsill, and sure enough, Sophie emerges and informs HRH of the evil giants actions. Knowing of the BFGs kind actions HRH invites the BFG to reveal himself from his garden-hiding place, and listens intently whilst eating breakfast. Whilst the Queen is eating her breakfast, and the BFG eating his, the Queen reminises of the Bagpipes outside her Scotland residence, not aware what fizzpopping is, she invites the BFG to demonstrate, despite Sophies pleading not to. That is very very funny. Summoning the Army and Air force Generals, HRH insists that the Giants are not to be ha
                    rmed, merely placed somewhere safe for all. Armed with realistic Chinook helicopters and Army issue Land rovers the soldiers follow the BFG to Giant country. The plan goes well, until the Trogglehumper awakens and discovers the plans, already restrained the other Giants are unable to retaliate, but the Trogglehumper realises that the cause of their capture is the BFG, who he seeks out and is hell bent on revenge. As the BFG is much smaller than the other Giants the odds are unfair, and Sophie comes to his rescue by drawing attention to herself. The Trogglehumper then peruses poor Sophie, who although hides, is unable to escape from the Giant BFGs final act of heroism is to find a special sleep dream, which he blows into the Trogglehumpers face just at the critical moment. He falls soundly asleep, and is restrained and airlifted away with the other giants to a place of safety. Eternally grateful that the BFG and Sophie have saved the day HRH invites Sophie and the other orphans from Sophies previous home to live with her at the palace. Sophie does not want to stay at the palace with the riches and grandure, she is happy with the BFG, and after some soul searching, decides to continue living with him in Giant land As in all good fairy tales the happy ending is inevitable Okay you can open your eyes now. This is a beautifully animated 1990 film, which for once really does do complete justice to the original author, in fact I watched it twice whilst composing this opinion. With very few trailers, this video is easy to watch, and to rewatch, without having to constantly fast forward the beginning. Unlike so many of the other animation films of this era, there is no need for constant songs and music. The humour is wonderful, and I love the way that the BFG jumbles his words and cliché sayings. The familiar voice of David Jason, is as he has never been heard before. Slightly sca
                    ry in places this film captures all of the relevant ingredients for a superb children’s film. Would I recommend it. You bet!!

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                  • Product Details

                    Disney adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl story.