Rated: PG

        As is the case with so many people growing up, Roald Dahl’s books were some of my favorites. As an avid reader I could easily finish some of the thicker books, such as Matilda or The Witches within a single day, if I put my mind to it. The BFG was one title especially close to my heart. I remember sitting on the floor in a semi-circle around my first grade teacher as she read it to the class. My imagination would run wild trying to picture the things she was describing, page after page.
        Of course, that was many years ago at this point, and the finer details of the book had grown fuzzy in my mind. I still remembered the basic gist of the book, but when I saw that it was to be released as a Stephen Spielberg and Disney film I knew I had to brush up on this classic.
         I had the perfect opportunity to do just that a couple of weeks before the film was to be released. My dog was having major issues with the arthritis in his hips and couldn’t walk on his own for a while, which meant he needed constant supervision. (Don’t worry, he’s getting better and can walk okay now.) I seized the opportunity and ordered a Roald Dahl box set from Amazon, which of course included
The BFG.
        After reading the book and reminding myself of the intricate details, I watched the film’s trailer again. I was instantly skeptical. I had a sneaking suspicion that this “adaptation” wasn’t true enough to the book, and that it would destroy a classic for a generation of children. But I didn’t want to judge the film before seeing it, and so kept my worries to myself.
        I went to the theater on sunny and smoldering hot afternoon, after the film had been out for a week or two. I had mixed emotions on the ride to the theater. I was expecting the worst, that Disney and Spielberg had annihilated one of my favorite books. On the other hand, I kept telling myself to have hope. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad…in fact, maybe it was even good! I knew it was a longshot, but I tried my best to keep an open mind.
        Unfortunately, my doubts and fears turned out to be true. The film was awful, and certainly couldn’t hold a candle to the book! Before you start screaming at the screen about how I’m wrong, let me explain.

        *Spoiler Alert:
If you don’t want to know any details of the film and are only interested in what I thought about it, scroll to the eighth paragraph!
        I’ll start with the thing that was flat out missing. In the book there are several pages devoted to descriptions of the other giants’ eating habits. While I understand why they left this out, (some of it could easily be misconstrued as racist), they could’ve just as easily modified it to make it less offensive.
        There were also several things that were added and changed in the name of making the movie longer and more palatable. For example, there are plenty of fart jokes in the book. One scene in particular includes the Queen of England. In the book it is only The BFG who partakes in the farting during this scene. In the movie everyone in the room partakes, including a long, drawn out part with the Queen’s dogs. I get it, kids like fart jokes! But given that there were already plenty in the book, extending and adding to them is unnecessary.
        In the book The BFG tells Sophie that she is the only kid he’s ever brought home, as she is the only one ever to have seen him. In the film he tells her this long story about another boy that he brought home in the past, whom the other giants ended up finding and eating.

        Eventually The BFG ends up giving Sophie a trunk full of clothes to choose from, as her nightie is too dirty and wet to continue to wear. There’s no explanation of where the clothes came from, or why he has them. This never happened in the book. In the book Sophie is stuck wearing her nightie throughout.

        At one point in the film the other giants come and ransack The BFG’s cave, looking for Sophie. Another time the other giants put The BFG on top of an old car and send him careening down a hill towards another old car they hope he’ll crash in to. Eventually The BFG takes Sophie back to the orphanage she came from, in the hopes that she’ll be safer. Again, none of this happened in the book.

        As if all of these changes and additions weren’t enough, Spielberg and Disney went and totally changed the ending. In the book, The BFG lives on the palace grounds in a house specially made for someone his size, while Sophie lives nearby in another little house. They visit each other daily, and Sophie teaches The BFG to read, so that he can begin to write his memoir. Meanwhile, the other giants are thrown in a deep pit that they can’t jump out of, with only “disgusting snozcumbers” to eat.

        The ending I just described is indeed much different than the one Spielberg and Disney cooked up. In the film the other giants are dropped on an island and given snozcumber seeds. (Of course, since the giants can run across water, I don’t see how dropping them on an island will trap them!) Meanwhile, The BFG goes back to Giant Country alone to live out his days planting all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Sophie has no need to teach him to read since he taught himself. And Sophie is adopted by the Queen’s assistant and lives happily ever after in the palace.

        With all of these changes, additions and missing plot points,
The BFG of Spielberg and Disney is sure to have Roald Dahl turning in his grave. Others have made films that are stunningly true to the books, such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and Matilda, so the fact that Spielberg and Disney have demolished this classic in such a way confuses me. The only thing I can think of that explains any of it is that Disney calls their employees “Imagineers”. But no matter who is to blame for this sham of a film, the point remains the same: Given the choice, avoid the film and read the book!

        The BFG is rated PG, was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton and Jemaine Clement. It is set to be released on Blu Ray, DVD and streaming on October 4, 2016.