Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Forgotten Disney Fantasy Movie People Are Loving On Netflix

Roald Dahl, though he had a dark side, is one of the most famous children's book authors of all time. He won awards like the World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award and multiple Edgar Allan Poe awards, and several of his beloved children's stories have been adapted for the big screen. In fact, one of his most underrated film adaptations has recently made it into Netflix's Top 10 list, likely due to its heartwarming and adventurous storyline.

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) was first published as a book in 1982 and was adapted as an animated film in 1989. The newest adaptation by Steven Spielberg for Disney came out in 2016, and that's the version that fans are loving on Netflix today. It stars Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) as the BFG and Ruby Barnhill (Mary and the Witch's Flower) as Sophie, the plucky orphan the BFG brings to his home in Giant Country. They embark on a journey to stop the other giants — who aren't as nice as the BFG — from invading the human world. While the movie is doing well on streaming platforms now, its first reviews were divided. 

Bring on the magic and the fantasy

The reviews from The BFG's initial release were varied. Many people loved the Disney movie for its magical fantasy elements, but several disliked it. One of the biggest critiques was that there wasn't enough action for adults to enjoy. Dann Gire of the Chicago Daily Herald wrote, "The BFG supplies moderate levels of kid-friendly charm. Yet, it fails to pack the kind of intense, emotional punch we've come to expect from Spielberg productions such as [E.T.] and Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Alternatively, film critic Sophie Monks Kaufman of Little White Lies said it "Leaves you believing in the magic of dreams."

Spielberg himself struggled with getting the pacing right. Eventually, The BFG's screenwriter Melissa Mathison (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) was the one to convince Spielberg to slow down. "The script went through many, many drafts, after I first read it, but Melissa [Matheson] had already done four or five drafts before I read her work," he explained in an interview with Collider. "One of the things I said, aside from that it needed more plot [...] was that it's gotta go faster. Melissa was very patient and very spiritual, and she kept saying, 'Now, Steve, you know that this isn't one of your Indiana Jones movies. You should just relax because this is going to be one of those stories where the pauses are just important as the words I've written and the words Dahl has written. The pauses, the spaces and the patience of the storytelling, don't rush it because it doesn't work rushed. It only works unfolding the way it's unfolding.' That was the best advice she could have given me, and she was absolutely right. The film has its own bio-rhythm, and you can't push it."

Though critics are torn on the pacing, the general consensus is that The BFG a visually stunning movie for the whole family to enjoy. And now, audiences are discovering exactly that thanks to its availability on Netflix.