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) 55%

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) 68%

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

Music Star Wars blaxploitation travel diversity casting Epix DGA award winner crossover transformers Podcast Film Watching Series USA witnail zero dark thirty Adult Swim Comedy CMT facebook animated Mary Poppins Returns Election Biopics HBO President robots miniseries MTV Emmy Nominations period drama TIFF Interview spy thriller Lucasfilm Amazon Prime Thanksgiving GLAAD Walt Disney Pictures X-Men Spike LGBT YA DC Universe historical drama Awards binge 2016 TBS anthology Lifetime Extras boxoffice elevated horror Mystery TV Land SDCC Apple streaming Video Games Sundance Now TV Vudu Shondaland Character Guide Animation WarnerMedia FX Writers Guild of America Superheroe Fantasy Showtime Pop Reality Competition Fox News New York Comic Con medical drama Disney CBS All Access natural history Anna Paquin Film Festival Song of Ice and Fire Food Network The Arrangement Photos 45 Mudbound finale Disney Channel 2018 Rocky Tumblr true crime unscripted Fall TV sequel Schedule Summer 21st Century Fox OWN 2019 Cosplay Binge Guide Drama Star Trek Trailer psycho National Geographic LGBTQ History Nat Geo Hulu E3 Holidays harry potter Oscars 24 frames thriller psychological thriller Chernobyl Musicals YouTube Premium Amazon series San Diego Comic-Con RT History TruTV Pet Sematary spinoff Spectrum Originals IFC ABC space Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ESPN Marathons kids zombie supernatural Tomatazos Polls and Games Superheroes Trivia HBO Max Heroines Emmys teaser E! Acorn TV ratings SundanceTV MCU Rocketman movies FOX Britbox Spring TV VICE Trophy Talk dceu YouTube Red Ellie Kemper aliens social media Reality dramedy Masterpiece VH1 TCA 2017 Rom-Com anime CW Seed cops Super Bowl NYCC festivals Comics on TV Sneak Peek television Sundance 2017 TLC technology Captain marvel NBC Disney streaming service Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Women's History Month Comedy Central crime Bravo docudrama comic science fiction Nickelodeon See It Skip It Opinion Horror Mary Tyler Moore quibi CBS adaptation serial killer Lionsgate GIFs MSNBC police drama Warner Bros. Certified Fresh Shudder Crackle Pride Month green book USA Network Winners Nominations crime drama Paramount Network Red Carpet Universal crime thriller sitcom Elton John composers disaster jamie lee curtis Netflix Premiere Dates TCM Syfy cars Action A&E 2015 Mindy Kaling DC streaming service Western doctor who Set visit golden globes mutant biography dc Grammys toy story adventure theme song Martial Arts Sony Pictures cooking Best and Worst vampires Creative Arts Emmys BBC America dragons hist BET Ghostbusters justice league CNN Dark Horse Comics war FXX Teen Christmas The CW politics Family Stephen King what to watch Sci-Fi Musical ABC Family Country Amazon Prime Video Infographic 20th Century Fox based on movie Tarantino Cartoon Network comiccon ghosts sports WGN book Awards Tour strong female leads Quiz DC Comics cats BBC Valentine's Day talk show cinemax American Society of Cinematographers Black Mirror Freeform 007 Countdown spider-man SXSW PBS Cannes game show discovery Ovation zombies DirecTV Box Office First Look Columbia Pictures Starz mockumentary AMC nature Kids & Family El Rey ITV singing competition RT21 Logo Pixar Pirates Calendar richard e. Grant Mary poppins APB IFC Films Toys TCA Paramount children's TV Esquire TNT romance revenge GoT tv talk Rock Marvel The Witch political drama Winter TV Comic Book Brie Larson Year in Review cults PaleyFest