School hols again so off we go to the multiplex to see ‘BFG’: me, my friend Deb and her grandchildren Jack (8-ish) and Bridie (10-ish). This is the fourth movie I’ve seen with Deb and the kids. I so much enjoyed ‘Shaun the Sheep’, ‘Minions’ and ‘Zootopia’ that I was beginning to think I’d discovered my new favourite genre. But BFG has put paid to that notion for the time being.
I’m not saying it’s not a good kids’ movie. In fact the kids liked it better than Deb and I did, which is telling, because they weren’t as emphatically positive about the other movies we’ve seen together. The main problem I think is that apart from one sly joke towards the end involving the Queen and the Reagans, BFG didn’t have that layer of witty cultural references designed to keep adults amused while the kids laugh at the fart jokes (of which there were many), the pratfalls and the general grossness.
Mark Rylance plays the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) and while I love him as an actor, I found his country bumpkin mangled speech unaccountably irritating. And I fully expect to be excoriated as an unredeemable old fart for saying that I also found central character Sophie a bit annoying. I mean, I don’t think little girls should be portrayed as simpering ninnies, but there were times – just a few – in this characterisation when feistiness tipped over into brattishness.
And it’s too long: it got bogged down in an excess of whimsy in the middle, and even the kids got bored and fidgety.
One final old fart gripe. Jack and Bridie have a little sister, Piper. She stayed home because at just four years old she’s not thought ready to sit through a feature-length movie. I wish the people in front and the people right behind us had been of the same mind regarding their too-young charges, who talked and fidgeted constantly and got up and walked in and out of the cinema several times. Harrumph.