The BFG (DVD + Blu-ray + Digital HD) Review- Big and Friendly Bonus Features Included
Roald Dahl’s The BFG novel was a staple of many childhoods and this movie edition is likely to enchant children the world over in a similar way. You can check out Dave Giggs’ review for some detailed thoughts on the CGI spectacle that was the main movie. As for the DVD release, I’m pleased to say that it’s a good quality one worthy of the movie. The special features are well done and will appeal to kids and adults alike.
The star of the bonus features is definitely the “Bringing the BFG to Life” short, which is nearly 30-minutes long and functions as a sort of mini-documentary on the making of the film. The guide throughout the whole thing is the young girl who plays Sophie in the movie, Ruby Barnhill. The idea of the short is that this is her video diary, though we honestly don’t get much of a sense of that, it’s more like she just interjects herself a few times to mess with the camera and talk about things. However, for the parts she does narrate, she is absolutely adorable and brimming with enthusiasm in talking about her experience. When Steven Spielberg (the director) talks about how full of life and imagination she is, you’re inclined to agree with him just based on this short.
Sophie from The BFG
However, the short isn’t just focused on Ruby, but also takes a good look at people involved in all stages of the movie. Roald Dahl’s daughter, Lucy, speaks a little bit, discussing what her father was like during her childhood and also revealing his first encounter with Walt Disney himself. Apparently they met when Walt grew interested in adapting his “Gremlins” story. She even reveals the weird nickname Disney had for Dahl. It’s all pretty interesting trivia to learn.
Other staff featured in the short include the costume designer, who designed even the CGI costumes and had to go through all the effort of making the costumes in real life. It’s fascinating to learn the process. Much like the main movie, there’s a prolonged segment on farting that will probably leave kids in stitches and adults sighing loudly. But unlike in the main movie, it’s made up for a bit by how utterly surreal it is to see a bunch of adults slowly testing and deflating giant balloons and seriously discussing what a giant’s “whizpopper” would sound like. It really impresses on you that even the stupid fart jokes in take a lot of effort and dedication and are taken very seriously by the crew- which is both weird and admirable.
There’s a lot of really cute behind the scene footage of the cast and crew bonding throughout and short segments with other actors, such as when Penelope Wilton discusses the pressure of playing the Queen of England. Overall, it’s a really solid little-mini movie, jam-packed with interesting trivia for adults and light-hearted enough even some kids will have fun following along.
From The BFG
With “Bringing the BFG to life” is definitely the giant of the features list and the others are a little puny in comparison, but most of them are solid and worth watching. Of particular note is “Melissa Mathison: A Tribute”, which is, as it sounds, a tribute to the scriptwriter of The BFG who passed away during production. It mostly gives information on her and the work she did on the movie. In addition to BFG, she was also the script-writer on E.T. and The Black Stallion, so she left quite a legacy. I’d never heard of her before, so I was glad that this feature gave me the opportunity to know more and showed the impact her work had made.
The other features were all just a few minutes long. “Giants 101” focused on the actors who played the 9 antagonistic giants of the film and it showed behind-the-scenes stuff with them acting before they got all CGI-ified. It made it a little easier to differentiate the giants from the film, though they all still tend to kind of melt together. There was also some fake interviews the actors did in character as the giants to prepare for the role and they were pretty amusing.
"The Big Friendly Giant and Me" was an illustrated short that was basically an extended picture book by the human who lived with the BFG before Sophie. It was cute enough and added a little to the world-building, but it’s fairly forgettable and short.
From The BFG
“Gobblefunk: The Wonderful World of The BFG” was definitely a feature aimed at kids, basically just quizzing the children watching about the terminology used by the giants. It’s unlikely to entice anyone older than ten, but it was well-made for what it was.
While “Bringing” is definitely the main feature worth looking at, altogether this DVD offers a wealth of bonus material that remains entertaining and informative throughout. One thing I was surprised and slightly disappointed by was the fact there wasn’t audio commentary of any kind for the movie. It would have been nice to hear what the staff had to say on certain scenes.
That aside, if you’re a BFG fan and want to get the movie anyway, I’d say the bonus material is definitely substantial enough to warrant this purchase. It may not be a giant bonus, but it’s certainly a big and friendly one.