Critics Consensus

The BFG Is a Visually Striking Adventure

Plus, The Legend of Tarzan swings and misses and The Purge: Election Year is a B-movie blast.

by | June 30, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a big friendly giant (The BFG, starring Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill), an iconic jungle dweller (The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie), and a bunch of masked marauders (The Purge: Election Year, starring Frank Grillo and Elizabeth Mitchell). What do the critics have to say?


The BFG (2016) 75%

Few modern filmmakers have been able to capture the conflicting emotions of childhood as successfully as Steven Spielberg, and few authors have crafted young protagonists as gracefully as Roald Dahl — so Spielberg adapting Dahl’s classic The BFG should add up to an automatic home run. This latest cinematic take on the tale of a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who embarks on an adventure with a big friendly giant (a mo-capped Mark Rylance) certainly benefits from the latest technology, presenting viewers with a series of visual splendors, yet many critics can’t help wishing for something more. Although overall quite positive, reviews point to a disarmingly sweet film that ignores the darker elements of Dahl’s source material, not to mention the sense of danger that informed Spielberg’s earlier work. All the same, younger viewers — and the young at heart of all ages — will likely be swept up by The BFG just as easily as he scoops up little Sophie.


The Legend of Tarzan (2016) 36%

It’s been quite awhile since a U.S. studio decided to make a big-budget film based on the vine-swinging jungle adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Tarzan character — and based on the reviews for the David Yates-directed The Legend of Tarzan, it could be years before it happens again. Starring Alexander Skarsgård as the erstwhile ape man and Margot Robbie as Jane, Legend does its level best to grapple with the most problematic elements of the character; unfortunately, critics say those efforts aren’t enough to enliven what is, at bottom, a fairly ordinary action-adventure outing with not enough of either — and an overload of obvious CGI. There may yet be a way to turn Tarzan into a viable 21st-century film franchise, but the reviews point back to the drawing board after The Legend of Tarzan.


The Purge: Election Year (2016) 54%

When you’re living in the midst of a presidential election year, it can be difficult to imagine ways in which campaign season could possibly become even more of a circus. Well, now there’s The Purge: Election Year, which infuses the franchise’s traditional skull-cracking violence with a shotgun blast of politically timely relevance. Returning audiences to a future in which citizens have an annual 12-hour pass to legally commit all manner of mayhem — including murder — writer-director James DeMonaco’s third installment in the series envisions an election in which one candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) vows to do away with the Purge if she’s elected. She’s got series protagonist Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) on her side, but shadowy government forces are determined to stop her — and critics say it adds up to a wickedly dark action flick that, while perhaps not quite as lethally effective as its predecessors, is still high-caliber enough to recommend for filmgoers seeking a summer dose of genre thrills.


What’s New on TV

Thirteen: Miniseries (2016) 88%

Thirteen gives a well-worn premise an intriguing facelift with haunting execution and compelling performances across the board.


Queen of the South: Season 1 (2016) 69%

Queen of the South enlivens an overdone premise with action and narrative vigor — and shows hints of intriguing potential.


Dead of Summer: Season 1 (2016) 63%

Dead of Summer sets a spooky stage for a silly period creepfest, but its lack of actual scares adds up to an altogether underwhelming experience.


Roadies: Season 1 (2016) 34%

Roadies‘ condescending tone, boring and underdeveloped characters, and lack of dramatic intrigue lead to a failure to rock.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

Shondaland 20th Century Fox biography PBS Photos The Arrangement E! X-Men social media CW Seed Super Bowl Superheroe 45 Spring TV ITV TIFF Netflix dramedy Logo TBS Masterpiece Trailer historical drama zombies Crackle serial killer Disney Channel Nat Geo USA Network cults Country Set visit Red Carpet Countdown MSNBC discovery TLC Britbox Superheroes Music sports sitcom Christmas Universal Sci-Fi Fox News period drama Showtime festivals Awards Reality Competition blaxploitation TCM TV Land cooking crime thriller Star Trek golden globes NYCC Rocky Fall TV Adult Swim PaleyFest Food Network Comic Book Dark Horse Comics IFC Films YA GLAAD Extras BBC America jamie lee curtis Awards Tour ratings docudrama Schedule Star Wars travel supernatural VICE Kids & Family Mystery medical drama Trivia ABC 2016 2019 Fantasy streaming New York Comic Con Opinion CBS technology comiccon Biopics Sneak Peek El Rey Acorn TV TNT National Geographic Teen Mary Poppins Returns Walt Disney Pictures Writers Guild of America diversity crime drama Nominations Valentine's Day Toys Trophy Talk Premiere Dates Disney harry potter Watching Series political drama crime Action green book spy thriller Lifetime AMC 2017 Shudder RT History Tomatazos Emmys Marathons Election cops SDCC singing competition talk show psycho Rom-Com Pixar DC streaming service Tumblr 24 frames anime Ghostbusters 2018 zombie aliens CMT cats Best and Worst Esquire what to watch Syfy Cartoon Network spider-man Summer Horror 007 Nickelodeon OWN The CW First Look Holidays ESPN Paramount Network unscripted TruTV FXX DC Comics based on movie boxoffice Amazon dceu VH1 Quiz DirecTV transformers GIFs Warner Bros. Winter TV romance Calendar Pop Pirates Comedy Central mutant Cosplay Starz President NBC Apple SXSW FOX Year in Review Character Guide war Drama Song of Ice and Fire Ovation Western comic IFC hist cinemax Rock YouTube Premium Columbia Pictures 2015 television FX San Diego Comic-Con Thanksgiving Polls and Games TV E3 Freeform Podcast 21st Century Fox BBC TCA 2017 Certified Fresh Creative Arts Emmys crossover Sony Pictures Oscars robots Mindy Kaling Paramount dc Comedy award winner Musical politics Epix A&E History BET Mary poppins Infographic American Society of Cinematographers police drama doctor who Video Games justice league LGBTQ DC Universe CNN ABC Family vampires Reality Chilling Adventures of Sabrina adventure Box Office MTV See It Skip It Marvel Mary Tyler Moore Ellie Kemper Spike science fiction YouTube Red Grammys Animation Comics on TV USA binge Sundance finale Hulu APB Bravo Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Interview HBO GoT Winners Lucasfilm Musicals Martial Arts WGN TCA Sundance Now composers CBS All Access SundanceTV Lionsgate thriller