The BFG (1989 film)

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The BFG
Directed by Brian Cosgrove
Produced by Mark Hall
Brian Cosgrove
Written by Roald Dahl (book)
John Hambley
Starring Amanda Root
David Jason
Angela Thorne
Music by Keith Hopwood & Malcolm Rowe
Edited by Nigel Rutter
Production
company
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.
Language English

The BFG is a 1989 British animated film based on the 1982 book of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was first shown on Christmas Day 1989 on ITV in the UK.

The film was dedicated to animator George Jackson, who had worked on numerous Cosgrove Hall productions before his death in 1986. This film is also the last role of Ballard Berkeley, who died in 1988

Plot[edit]

Sophie is a young orphan living in a girls-only orphanage with many other orphan girls, the orphanage is run by Mrs. Clonkers, a cruel woman who hates children, and abuses and mistreats all of the girls living there. One night, Sophie was unable to sleep during the 'witching hour', she looks out of the window of her dormitory and sees a cloaked giant blowing something through a trumpet into a bedroom window down the street. She feels terrified, but the giant then sees her, and although she tries to hide in her bed, he reaches through the window, takes her and carries her away to the giants homeland, Giant Country.

Once at his house, after threating that she was shortly to be eaten, Sophie learns that the giant who has abducted her is 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, predatorily monsters who eat humans, mostly children, while sleeping during the day, in the wastes outside the BFGs house in Giant county, at night they go out into Humans world and eat as many people as they please, with more and more getting eaten every night. Because the BFG is good and refuses to eat people, he has to survive on a revolting vegetable known as a snozzcumber, it is the only thing to eat that grows in Giant Country and he would never steal food from anywhere else, the other giants regard him with contempt for this. Sophie and the BFG quickly form a bond, and the BFG develops a paternal sentiment for her. The BFG also learns from Sophie about the miserable times she had had, along with her fellow orphans, being abused and mistreated by Mrs. Clonkers, The BFG gets emotional over this, knowing that although she's not living there anymore, she is not better off living with him in danger of the other giants. Sophie also learns that the reason why The BFG took her away was to prevent word getting around about a giant being seen, as then authorities would begin hunting him to put him in a zoo. Also, and because of this, Sophie had no choice but to stay with The BFG as her guardian and never go back to live in the Humans world, with which she would be happy.

Sophie's life is then shortly 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 assumes the BFG is talking to a human and begins searching for Sophie to devour 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. In a rage, the beast destroys the cave and storms out, while The BFG sobs with regret over Sophie, he quickly realizes that Sophie had been spat out and has therefore survived and is now safe. The BFG helps Sophie recover, gives her a bath and makes her a new dress, while doing this for her, he begins telling her about his sole responsibility in life of disturbing dreams to people at night while they are sleeping. As Sophie announces she is thirsty, The BFG treats her to a strange, but delicious fizzy drink called frobscottle, which causes the drinker to break into loud flatulence instead of burping, with the bubbles of the drink moving downwards instead of upwards: this is known as a Whizzpopper, which causes the drinker to fly. The next morning, the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more dreams, but is tormented by the other giants along the way, notably their leader, the Fleshlumpeater, the largest and most fearsome giant of all. They escape them safely, from which Sophie states to The BFG that she thought the Fleshlumpeater was going to kill him. The BFG explains to her that giants are "not like Human Beings", from this, he explains how human beings are the only living species in the world, out of all animals and creatures, who have wars with their own kind and would kill one another, for this, The BFG thought very lowly of the human race in terms of good doings. Arriving in Dream Country, the BFG demonstrates his dream-catching skills to Sophie, she joins in with him in flying to chase after the dreams after he tells her "you is never doing anything unless you try". Sophie has a wonderful time in Dream Country, but The BFG is unlucky enough to catch a Trogglehumper, which is essentially a 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 really wished somebody could stop him, after trying to convince The BFG to stop him, realizing it's hopeless, she cries out in vain, attracting the Fleshlumpeater's attention and forcing the BFG to flee.

Sophie felt very upset at The BFG for fleeing, stating that she wants the other children safe in favor of herself before anymore are eaten. The two quickly reconcile, but The BFG explains that he has heard the giants talking, that they have found 2 schools in England, one boys-only and one girls-only, and so a lot more children were to be eaten that night. Sophie tries to persuade the BFG that something had to be done to stop the evil giants from ever eating anymore people ever again, 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, and is still afraid of being put in a zoo (and now additionally afraid for Sophie of her being put back in her orphanage). But Sophie manages to convince him otherwise when she thinks of The Queen of England, who is hugely kind and can't be called bad. Together, they develop a plan to, first, make the Queen of the United Kingdom know all about the evil giants and their doings, and who their selves are, with their intentions to help capture the evil giants. Once Queen knew about the giants, the next part of the plan was that the, with her power, she would be able command the necessary people to take the necessary actions to so capture the giants. 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, after reading the newspaper about the children from the boarding schools being found killed (by the giants) last night, her servant, Mary finds Sophie on the windowsill and The Queen beckons her to herself. 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 meets and speaks with the BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast. The Queen summons the Head of the Army and the Marshall of the Air Force, who, before arriving discuss the children who had been killed from the boarding school. Upon arrival before The Queen, by her requirements, they meet The BFG and hear his story about the evil giants who eat people, so that they could begin work on neutralizing the evil giants. The two heads at first plan to kill the giants, but The Queen explains to them that there is no need to physically harm the giants regardless that they eat people, the heads are convinced by this, which begins to redeem the human race in The BFGs view, previously regarding all of them as bad people. From this, Sophie explains to them the giants can be trapped instead of killed, because they sleep during the day and so they can be approached and tied down within this time, and so they formulate their strategy to permanently trap the giants and isolate them from all remaining humans.

Once ready, the army and the airforce, in huge fleet of RAF Chinook helicopters, is led by the BFG to the giants' homeland. While the child-eating giants are asleep, the Army sneaks up on them ties them down with straps large and strong enough to hold them. However, during this process, the giants are soon 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, but are unable to do so, resulting in them being knocked out, and peace is momentarily restored. As the army come out successful in their mission, The BFG finally sees that there are after all many adult human beings who are good, kind and brave. The only one who escapes from their physical restriction is the Fleshlumpeater, who immediately goes after the BFG. The BFG decides to face the Fleshlumpeater, to redeem himself for appearing as a coward, not confronting the Fleshlumpeater earlier when Sophie tried to convince him to. Despite knowing he will stand no chance against him, The BFG puts himself at the risk anyway. Infuriated at being betrayed, the Fleshlumpeater is about to declares that the BFG is not a giant but is just like a human being, to which The BFG says that he would be happier that way, The Fleshlumpeater decides, because of this, that he can kill The BFG. After attempting to kill him, Sophie screams out to leave him alone, 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. Including the Fleshlumpeater, the tethered giants are then each transported, by helicopter to London, where they are sealed away in a special large pit which has been constructed for their entrapment and from which they will never be able to escape. The BFG mentions that the Trogglehumper was a dream about a legendary giant slayer named Jack, Sophie and The BFG share a big laugh to this, in that, as Sophie knows, Jack isn't real.

As a punishment for their lifetimes of people-eating, the giants, now trapped in the pit, are forced to eat Snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives. Mrs. Clonkers orphanage has now been closed in addition and, as punishment for her past abuse and cruelty, she was given the life sentence of looking after the giants living in the pit and feeding them their snozzcumbers regularly. The Queen offers Sophie a place to stay in her palace along with all the other girls in the orphanage. The BFG and Sophie are now internationally famous for their heroism and The BFG knows that he no longer has to fear being put in a zoo and so no longer has to avoid being seen by any humans. In addition, for his heroism, The BFG is offered, by The Queen, a marvelous palace to live in in England for the rest of his life. 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 she wishes to remain with him thereafter, so, together they fly back to Giant Country, where dreams will be waiting for them for future work.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Amanda Root Sophie
David Jason The BFG
Angela Thorne Queen Elizabeth II
Don Henderson The Bloodbottler
The Fleshlumpeater
Frank Thornton Mr Tibbs
Mollie Sugden Mary
Michael Knowles Head of Air Force
Ballard Berkeley Head of Army
Myfanwy Talog Mrs. Clonkers
Jimmy Hibbert Additional Voices

Reception[edit]

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".[1]

Videos/DVD releases[edit]

The film was first released on VHS by VCI in 1990, and again in 1995 and 1997 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 and VHS the same releases, followed by the Daily Mirror DVD. Other releases 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stoddart, Patrick (24 December 1989). "Christmas comes but not this year – Television networks". The Sunday Times. 

External links[edit]