In 1982 an amazing pairing happened between a screenwriter and a director, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Everyone knows Steven Spielberg was the director and Melissa Mathison was the writer. The movie went on to become the highest grossing movie of all time and held that distinction for 15 years. Today, July 1, 2016 the two team up again for “The BFG.” While it is a good choice for a family activity this July 4th weekend, it does not come close to matching the emotional connection audiences had with E.T.

Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a little girl who lives in a London orphanage. She’s not one who often follows the rules and that gets her in trouble one night as she is kidnapped by a giant (new Oscar winner, Mark Rylance) and taken to Giant Land. She has nothing to worry about from her capture as he does not eat beings. However, any other giant in the land will eat her up without a second thought.


“The BFG” is not bad, but it’s far from enthralling either. It lacks that certain Spielberg magic many of us have come to love over the years. Although, it is not from a lack of trying. The movie does not waste a lot of time and gets to the meat of the story pretty fast. However, it tries to be too sentimental too soon. There are sweet and touching moments, but they are not achieved until later when they are properly earned.

Steven Spielberg always had an eye for great young talent and he has found one again in Ruby Barnhill. Sophie is a very strong character and we learn that quickly. The audience identifies with her straight-off and we are interested in what happens to her. If a weaker actress is playing her, none of that would happen. Plus, Barnhill spends most of the movie working off CGI created characters, but does so flawlessly. This is one young girl who can have a tremendous career ahead of her.

The last time Spielberg made a 3D movie was in 2011 with “The Adventures of Tintin” and it was the best 3D movie of that year. “The BFG” will not have that distinction put upon yet; however, the 3D effects here are flawless. If you do choose to see this movie, it is well worth the extra money to see it in that format. All the special effects are perfect too.

There’s some humor too “The BFG” that children and parents can both enjoy, although if you thought Seth McFarlane could beat a joke to death, there’s one scene here where Spielberg goes for overkill. It may be unfair to compare this to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” but it’s hard not to considering the writing directing team at work. This outing does not come all together the way you wanted and you want to like this movie. Sadly, it comes a little short. It is rated PG for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor.