Roald Dahl is one of the best authors of children’s fantasy novels ever. We lost a genius when he died in 1990. But his works continue to inspire. And for fantasy fans, the enduring legacy of Roald Dahl can only be a good thing.
If you love fantasy, Disney’s BFG (which stands for Big Friendly Giant) should be pretty darned exciting to you. Because with Disney’s BFG, we are finally being given back that pure, innocent fantasy that we’ve missed recently. You know, the kind of pure fantasy that made fairytales so special to begin with.
Over the past decade or so we’ve seen fantasy bludgeoned by Hollywood bureaucracy. Too many fantasies have been made “Epic” by an overreliance on special effects and on spectacle.
But children’s fantasy stories like the BFG were never meant to be “epic”. They’re meant to be fun, pure, innocent…they’re designed to make your imagination sparkle with wonder.
And when it comes to making your imaination sparkle with wonder. Well, few people achieve that better than Roald Dahl.
James And The Giant Peach, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, and yes, The BFG, are all books that are simply full of childhood wonder.
I remember reading The BFG as a little kid. I was about 7. I totally fell in love with the Big Friendly Giant. I used to imagine being carried home from school by that towering friendly chap. And I had a lunchbox with a picture of the BFG on the top.
But more than anything, I remember that, as a kid, the BFG made my imagination twinkle. It was one of those books that inspired me to become a writer, because Roald Dhal proved just how darned inspiring and influential great fiction can be.
It was the simple and pure sense of wonder that made The BFG book so great. And what’s truly fantastic is that now, 34 years later, Disney are recreating the BFG. And not only are they recreating it, they’re doing it right. They’re not desperate to fill it with action or to make it seem too glossy or too high tech. The art direction perfectly recreates the feeling of those pencil sketched that were in the book 34 years ago.
When you watch the trailer (below) you actually get the feeling of being carried back in time, away from all those “blockbuster” action-packed fantasies, to the “land of make believe”, you know, that place you went to every night when you were a little kid dreaming of giants, fairies, and monsters.
Everything about the trailer is designed to carry you back to that land of make believe. The low lit lighting. The abandoned London streets. The andante strings soundtrack. Even the words “The world is more giant than you can imagine”. It all takes you back to the land of wonder you lived in as a kid. And for that, Disney deserves applause.
8 years old me is cheering in joy at how marvelous the BFG trailer looks. And 34 year old me is applauding Disney for keeping the pure spirit of the book intact.
The BFG looks like childhood fantasy done perfectly. If the final movie is as good as the trailers, this could be a classic in the making. And you just know that Roald Dahl is looking down on this with a smile on his face. Because his masterpiece is being so faithfully recreated.