The BFG (film)
|Directed by||Brian Cosgrove|
|Produced by||Mark Hall
|Written by||Roald Dahl (book)
|Music by||Keith Hopwood & Malcolm Rowe|
|Editing by||Nigel Rutter|
|Studio||Cosgrove Hall Films|
|Distributed by||Video Collection International (1990s)
ITV (TV airing)
Roadshow Home Video (Australia and New Zealand)
Celebrity Home Entertainment (United States)
Disney Channel UK (1998 TV airing)
|Release dates||25 December 1989|
|Running time||91 min.|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2013)|
One night when young orphan Sophie cannot sleep during the 'witching hour', she looks out of the window of her dormitory and sees a cloaked giant blowing something into a bedroom window down the street. The giant sees her, and although she tries to hide in her bed, he reaches through the window and carries her away to his home.
Fortunately for Sophie, she has been abducted by the world's only good giant, the Big Friendly Giant (or BFG). Operating in the strictest secrecy, the BFG catches dreams (which manifest themselves in Dream Country as floating semi-fluid sparkler-like objects) and at night, he blows his bottled dreams into the bedrooms of children. The other, larger giants are vicious, cannibalistic monsters; they go out into the world to steal and eat humans, mostly children, since there is little else for them to eat where they live. Because the BFG refuses to eat people, he must survive on a revolting vegetable known as a snozzcumber, and thus the other giants regard him with contempt. Sophie and the BFG form a quick bond, and the BFG develops a paternal sentiment for her. However, Sophie's life is put in danger by the sudden arrival of the Bloodbottler Giant, one of the fearsome, flesh-eating giants who live in the wastes outside the BFG's house. The giant demands to know who the BFG is talking to, but the BFG lies telling him he is talking to himself. The Bloodbottler (correctly) assumes the BFG is talking to a human and begins searching for Sophie so he can eat her.
Sophie hides in the snozzcumber, unknown to the BFG, and the BFG offers the snozzcumber to the Bloodbottler, hoping that its foul taste will send the giant hollering out of the cave and leave him in peace. The Bloodbottler crunches up the snozzcumber, but luckily spits Sophie out. In a rage, the beast destroys the cave and storms out. The BFG helps Sophie recover, makes her a new dress and treats her to a strange, but delicious fizzy drink called frobscottle. It is rather unusual in that the bubbles in the drink travel downwards and therefore cause the drinker to break into loud flatulence instead of burping: this is known as a Whizzpopper, which cause the drinker of the frobscottle to fly. Composers Keith Hopwood & Malcolm Rowe came up with a song - Whizzpopping!, which neatly explained the tricky subject. After this the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more dreams he calls Phizzwizards, but is tormented by the other giants along the way, notably their leader, the Fleshlumpeater, the largest and most fearsome giant of all. After escaping them and arriving in Dream Country, the BFG demonstrates his dream-catching skills to Sophie, but is unlucky enough to catch a Trogglehumper, which is essentially a particularly horrific nightmare.
Back at the BFG's cave, he shows Sophie the huge storeroom where he keeps all the dreams he has captured over the years. He even takes Sophie with him to watch him on his dream-blowing duties, but this is cut short when they spot the Fleshlumpeater about to feast upon one of the children that the BFG had blown a dream to. Sophie cries out, attracting the Fleshlumpeater's attention and forcing the BFG to flee.
Sophie persuades the BFG that something must be done to defeat the evil giants, even if it means getting the word out. At first, the BFG is reluctant to do so, since he views all adult humans as bad people, but Sophie manages to convince him otherwise. Together, they develop a plan to get the Queen of the United Kingdom to help them. Using dreams from his collection, the BFG mixes up a terrible nightmare which will show the Queen what the giants do. They set off for Buckingham Palace and blow the dream into the Queen's bedroom. The BFG then leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill and retreats into the palace gardens.
When the Queen awakens, Sophie convinces her that all of her dream was true. Because the dream included the knowledge that Sophie would be there when she woke up, the Queen believes her, and she speaks with the BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast and the Queen summons the Head of the Army and the Marshall of the Air Force to begin work on neutralizing the evil giants.
Eventually a huge fleet of RAF Chinook helicopters follows the BFG to the giants' homeland. While the child-eating giants are asleep, the Army ties them up, planning to hang them under several helicopters each, and transport them to London, where a special large pit has been constructed from which they will not be able to escape. However the giants are disturbed and begin to wake up, causing chaos and several soldiers to be injured. Eventually the giants attempt to free themselves from the chains that bind them, resulting in them being knocked out, and peace is momentarily restored. The only one who escapes being trapped is the Fleshlumpeater, who immediately goes after the BFG, who decides to face the Fleshlumpeater despite knowing he will stand no chance against him. Infuriated at being betrayed, the Fleshlumpeater is about to kill the BFG when Sophie screams out. Hearing this, the Fleshlumpeater drops the BFG and prepares to eat Sophie alive, but after a long struggle he is finally subdued with the nightmare-inducing Trogglehumper BFG caught earlier, and is carried with the rest. The BFG mentions that the Trogglehumper was a dream about a legendary giant slayer named Jack.
As a punishment for their lifetimes of people-eating, the giants are placed in the pit and forced to eat Snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives, fed to them by the awful Mrs Clonkers who ran the orphanage Sophie lived in, resulting in its closure. Afterwards, the Queen offers Sophie a place to stay in her palace along with all the other girls in the orphanage. Contrary to the book's ending, the BFG stays in Giant Country instead of moving to England. Sophie cannot bear to part from him, and so decides to remain with him thereafter. Together they fly back to Giant Country where dreams are waiting for them.
|David Jason||The BFG|
|Angela Thorne||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Don Henderson||The Bloodbottler
|Frank Thornton||Mr Tibbs|
|Michael Knowles||Head of Air Force|
|Ballard Berkeley||Head of Army|
|Myfanwy Talog||Mrs. Clonkers|
|Jimmy Hibbert||Additional Voices|
Writing in The Sunday Times before its broadcast, Patrick Stoddart called it a "delight", and wrote that it "puts its already celebrated British animators, Cosgrove Hall, into the Disney class".
The film was first released on VHS by VCI in 1990, and again in 1997 and 2000 in the United Kingdom. Roadshow Home Video and ABC Video released the film on VHS in Australia in 1992, while its first video release in the United States was by Celebrity Home Entertainment in 1995.
In 2001, Pearson Television International Ltd released the film on DVD, followed in 2008 by Fremantle Home Entertainment's release. The American DVD release was distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment in 1999 and A&E Home Video in 2006.
In 2012, Fremantle Home Entertainment released a Digitally Restored DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Widescreen, as Brian Cosgrove originally intended the film to be released in that format.
- Stoddart, Patrick (24 December 1989). "Christmas comes but not this year – Television networks". The Sunday Times.