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Director Steven Spielberg returns to the world of family-friendly fantasy/adventure with the upcoming The BFG, after having spent the last few years working on such historical drama fare as War Horse, Lincoln, and Bridge of Spies. BFG is also Spielberg’s first directorial effort to be released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner (though the filmmaker has produced numerous movies with the Mouse House in the past), as was revealed earlier this year.
Disney has long specialized in fairy tales, so it’s fitting that The BFG – which tells the tale of the young orphan Sophie (relative newcomer Ruby Barnhill) and her adventures with the Big Friendly Giant a.k.a. BFG (Bridge of Spies co-star Mark Rylance) – is being released under the company’s watch. The teaser trailer for the movie, which you can check out above, likewise sets the stage for an adventure with the tone and atmosphere of Disney’s first Chronicles of Narnia film adaptation, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
The BFG is based on the beloved children’s novel by author Roald Dahl, whose famous body of work also includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach. Dahl’s source material was adapted for the big screen by Spielberg’s own Oscar-nominated E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who sadly passed away not that long after principle photography on The BFG was completed) and its larger than life characters will be realized via VFX provided by Weta Digital (which previously collaborated with Spielberg on his mo-cap film, The Adventures of Tintin).
The BFG‘s theatrical release is still nearly seventh months away (at the time of writing this), so understandably all the teaser offers for now is a glimpse of the film’s namesake in action. However, we can also offer an official synopsis for The BFG, which provides additional cast and characters details for the film:
The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg – finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle.
Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
BFG, judging by the teaser trailer footage, should (no surprise) boast lovely cinematography from Oscar-winner Janusz Kaminski – Spielberg’s collaborator for the past twenty years now – and will once again feature music by Spielberg’s legendary collaborator for the past forty years, John Williams – after the latter passed on scoring Bridge of Spies this year (due to an illness that he’s since recovered from). The film should also provide a welcome change of pace from the director’s recent work, which has been more of the grounded political drama variety (not per se a bad thing) – as opposed to the imaginative, yet humanist storytelling that many filmgoers associate the most with Spielberg’s name (a la The BFG).
Disney is set to release The BFG in theaters just in time for the 2016 Fourth of July frame, where it will face competition from The Legend of Tarzan and Independence Day: Resurgence, among other films at the box office. Even during the crowded summer season though, an effects-heavy, family-friendly title that is directed by Spielberg (and based on a famous children author’s novel) shouldn’t have that much trouble drawing a sizable audience.
The BFG opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2016.