Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations.
I received advanced screening passes from Walt Disney Studios Canada to view this film.
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrator: David Williams
Publisher: Listening Library
Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rebecca Hall
Director: Stephen Spielberg
Screenplay: Melissa Mathison
Summary (from Goodreads): Captured by a giant!
The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!
If you have ever read a book written by Roald Dahl, you will know exactly what I mean when I say that this story is classic Dahl. There is a fantastical world that the reader can get lost in, wonderful and vividly described characters and humorous word play. In the audio version narrated by David Williams, we are given a voice to these relatable characters that makes the listener feel like part of the story. The film adaptation of this book has some fun aspects and maintains the theme of friendship from the original story, however, it falls short of Dahl’s original work and just doesn’t seem to measure up.
I have always enjoyed Roald Dahl’s novels and they bring back so many amazing childhood memories of my first reading experiences. Listening to David Williams bring the BFG, Sophie, and the Queen to life is an incredible adventure that makes this story that much more colourful. His vocal characterizations are prefect and they way he pronounces the plethora of made-up words in this book are so amusing. The special effects in the background also add another layer to the listening experience that will help the listener to envision the happenings in the book with greater intensity. While I can see that there may be some terrifying moments for children in this book, somehow the humour and the fact that the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is so lovable, give the listener a sense of security.
When I found out yet another book by Roald Dahl was being translated to the screen, I was very excited. There have been some wonderful films created in the past based on his works. Unfortunately, this adaptation is not as thrilling or amusing as I had hoped for. The storyline is somewhat the same, but the wonderful details are not depicted nearly as wonderfully as the book and the ending is altered. There is also some bathroom humour that might appeal to some, but I found it distasteful and certainly not the exact feel that Dahl was after. Mind you, there were some touching moments in the movie, but they just don’t compare to the original book.
So, is this a movie that you want to rush out to the theatre to see? In my humble opinion, no. While this is a film that is highly anticipated and has definitely been hyped up and advertised to great extent, it is not one that I feel deserves your hard earned money. I do think that most fans of the book will want to see it and should see it to compare the story to the film. However, waiting to see it on DVD would be an option that I suggest. This is a book that you should definitely not judge by its movie.