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Review: The BFG delivers another giant smash hit for Spielberg

The BFG (PG, 117 mins)

By Damon Smith

The heroine is a precocious orphan called Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), who is snatched from her bed at the witching hour by a hooded 24ft tall figure.

The behemoth spirits the girl over verdant valleys and crashing seas to the rolling landscapes of Giant Country. "No such place," Sophie defiantly informs her host, who introduces himself as the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance).

The BFG wouldn't normally kidnap a chiddler, but he explains that he was fearful Sophie might cause a great rumpledumpus by yodelling the news that she had seen a giant. A tender and deeply touching friendship is forged between Sophie and her kind-hearted abductor, who exists on a diet of disgusterous snozzcumbers and is bullied by filthsome fellow giants including Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement), Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), Maidmasher (Olafur Darri Olafsson) and Manhugger (Adam Godley).

In order to rid Giant Country of these man-gobblers, Sophie hatches a hare-brained scheme to visit the Queen (Penelope Wilton) at Buckingham Palace. The BFG joins her on this madcap quest, and his presence smacks the gobs of the assembled staff including the Queen's dutiful maid Mary (Rebecca Hall) and head butler Mr Tibbs (Rafe Spall).

Directed with verve by Spielberg, The BFG is a visually arresting ride that gently tugs heartstrings in between rollicking set pieces.

Four stars

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