Steven Spielberg takes Roald Dahl's 1982 book and brings the fantasy/ adventure alive with terrific sets and impressive acting.
The story begins with 10 year old Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) wandering around the English orphanage where she lives. Its the middle of the night and everyone else is asleep. but she suffers from insomnia and its something she does quite frequently. But this night, she's not prepared for what she sees. While looking out of an upstairs window, she spots a thin, old giant (Mark Rylance) with enormous ears, roaming the dark street below. When he sees that he's been discovered, he swoops up Sophie and takes her to his home in Giant Country so she won't be able to tell anyone about him.
At first, Sophie is afraid of the odd creature, but when she realizes he isn't going to hurt her, she nicknames him BFG, the Big Friendly Giant. He tells her that he sneaks into town to capture dreams that he puts in glass jars and stores in his cluttered, interesting house. Its filled with jars that have different colored lights. The light flitters around inside the glass like little fairies and he stores them in a room behind a small waterfall inside his house.
He has a little bedroom for Sophie inside of a large tree and tells her of the dangers of the man-eating giants. They live nearby and periodically barge into BFG's house to harass him or to sniff out humans to eat. They are big, slobbering creatures who have one thing on their mind - where their next meal is coming from.
The dangerous giants are such a problem for Sophie and her new friend that she comes up with a plan for them to travel together to visit the Queen (Penelope Wilton) to ask her to have her soldiers get rid of them.
The motion-capture technology used works better with some characters than others. BFG is very expressive and well defined, whereas the other giants are cartoonish.
Little Ruby is delightful. Her character is brave, spunky and very talkative. Rylance's face shows every emotion. His ears move constantly, his eyes crinkle at the corners when he's happy and when he's sad, his whole face dissolves downward. Both actors are terrific in their roles. The best part however, is the intricate sets. The Palace is homey yet elaborate and BFG's house is chock-full of great stuff. It has conveyor belts transporting dreams from one part of the house to another, hollowed-out trees with nooks carved out of the trunk and branches, a large sailboat in the middle of where the living room would be and a kitchen where BFG cooks up a slimy meal. Its a feast for the eyes and a lot of fun.