Few things conjure up nostalgia like the making of a childhood-favorite novel into a box-office hit.The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Roald Dahl, achieves precisely that.

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The film follows Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a ten-year-old orphan who suffers from insomnia. One night, during what she calls the “witching hour,” she spots a giant outside her window. The giant (Mark Rylance) captures her and takes her back to Giant Country, where he resides among other giants. Back at his home, he explains to Sophie that she must stay with him for the remainder of her life, lest she reveal the existence of giants to her fellow humans.

The giant, whom Sophie nicknames the Big Friendly Giant, or BFG, is a gentle creature in contrast to his giant brethren. The other giants are man-eating ones, while BFG abstains from human meat and opts instead for “snozzcumbers.”

When the BFG reveals to Sophie that he catches and controls people’s dreams, she convinces him to take her with him to Dream Country to capture dreams together. En route, they accidentally awaken the other giants, who proceed to bully and taunt the gentle giant. After the pair escape, Sophie chides the BFG and tells him he shouldn’t let anyone treat him that way. The irony is striking as the pint-sized Sophie advises the 24-foot giant to stand up for himself.

The CGI in the movie is delightful; the BFG is rendered with exquisite detail, with large ears and an even bigger heart. Sophie describes poetically that the BFG is “all the secret whisperings of the world.” Their friendship is a charming one; the two bond over their isolation and sensitive nature.

Though the movie is whimsical and heart-warming, Spielberg glosses over some of the darker aspects of Dahl’s novel. The film ignores Sophie’s background as an orphan, and doesn’t dwell on the story of the boy who used to stay with the BFG. It chooses instead to focus on lighter scenes, which, while initially entertaining, lack substance and depth.

All in all, this is a visually pleasing and feel-good movie that will keep the young ones pleased, but may leave older audiences yearning for more.

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