What can you say? Not since HOOK/‘91? Maybe Steven Spielberg should stay away from London-based Kid Lit. This story of a dream-dealing giant who befriends a spunky orphan girl never gets off the ground. And Spielberg seems to know it, over-compensating with elaborate motion capture/CGI set pieces to cover up story & casting problems. The sort of empty technical tinkering we’ve come to expect from onetime Spielberg protegee Robert Zemeckis (POLAR EXPRESS’04; CHRISTMAS CAROL/’09), and what Martin Scorsese (of all people) defaulted to on the equally charmless, over-produced HUGO/’11. Things take a slight turn for the better in the third act when Penelope Wilton shows up, corgis in hand, as a decidedly practical Queen Eliz II. But far too late to make much of a difference. What a sad final credit for Melissa Mathison (E.T./’82; BLACK STALLION/’79) who adapted the Roald Dahl book.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: We direct your attention (once more) to Dahl’s scary, kid-friendly THE WITCHES/’90.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Dahl’s book has a following, but does anyone think Big and Friendly come to mind when you see BFG? Granted, the film didn’t lose 100 mill on its title, but still . . .