newyorker.com – In Steven Spielberg’s thirtieth feature, “The BFG,” the Big Friendly Giant of the title toils away in his workshop, an Aladdin’s cave as designed by Rube Goldberg, putting dreams inside glass jars. The dreams look like multicolored fireflies, whizzing around with a mischievous chittering sound. “The dreams are so quick,” Sophie, the film’s ten-year-old heroine, says. “On the outside,” the BFG says. “They is long on the inside.” The dreams are blown down a long trumpet-like cone into bedrooms by the giant at night, and they fill the heads of sleeping children with fantasies involving phone calls from the President, T. rex chases, soldiers to the rescue, dancing couples. It’s not hard to see the metaphor that Spielberg and his screenwriter Melissa Mathison are sketching out here: the dreams are like the movies. More specifically, they are like Spielberg’s movies. “I was hearing all the wondrous and all the terrible things, all the secret whisperings of the world,” says the BFG—a line whose second half is Roald Dahl’s but whose first half glances at Spielberg’s career, for whom wonder and terror have long been mainstays.
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