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

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