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The BFG

Disney

Another Roald Dahl story is coming to the big screen.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the late Melissa Mathison, Walt Disney Studios' The BFG stars Mark Rylance as The Big Friendly Giant, Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, Penelope Wilton as The Queen, Jemaine Clement as Fleshlumpeater, Bill Hader as Bloodbottler, Rebecca Hall as Mary and Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs. Based on Dahl's beloved 1982 novel, the film follows Sophie and The BFG as they try to convince The Queen to help them get rid of all the evil giants.

The film, which clocks in at 117 minutes, is rated PG.

Many of Dahl's other works, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and The Witches, were also adapted for the big screen.

Here's what critics are saying about The BFG (in theaters Friday):

The BFG

Disney

• "Dahl's widely read and nearly universally revered novel began its journey to becoming a Spielberg movie some 25 years ago, at roughly the same time the director released one of his few duds, the cacophony that was 1991's garish Peter Pan rehash, Hook. That film served up more bad ideas than good, but among its takeaway lessons was the notion that magic only works so long as children believe, and here we see the principle put into practice," Variety's Peter Debruge writes. "Though waiting more than a couple of decades meant losing out on the idea of casting Robin Williams as the eponymous 'Big Friendly Giant' (a choice that would have altered the film's chemistry entirely), it's just as well that Spielberg waited, for technology has finally caught up to the project's ambition," which allowing Rylance to credibly become a giant.

The BFG

Disney

• "Steven Spielberg, mostly to his credit but sometimes to his detriment, has an affinity for fantasy extravaganzas that aren't wholly safe and cozy, pictures that come laced with a sense of menace. Occasionally, there's a nasty misfire, like 1997's too-sadistic The Lost World: Jurassic Park," TIME's Stephanie Zacharek writes. "Other examples of fantastical Spielbergiana like Minority Report and A.I. Artificial Intelligence are patchily imaginative but undone by excessive moralism. But with The BFG...Spielberg gets the tone just right." The film's "ambitious blend of live action and computer animation runs the risk of being overwhelming and sterile," she notes, but Rylance's gentle performance makes the film is a "pleasing and sweet-natured adventure."

The BFG

Disney

• "An uncanny thematic mirror to E.T. some 34 years later, Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison's The BFG emerges as a conspicuously less captivating, magical and transporting experience than its classic forebear. Quite literally about the value and importance of dreams to the exclusion of almost anything else, this adaptation of Roald Dahl's enduring classic sees the director diving deep into a technological bag of tricks to mix giants and humans on the same cinematic stage," The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy writes, later noting that the film "drags with too much dialogue during the first half and never truly achieves narrative lift-off."

The BFG

Disney

• "The BFG is a labor of love that sometimes wears its love too laboriously, but a surfeit of rapture isn't the worst thing in a movie—especially when its director has a genius for translating emotion into the rising and falling of his camera or laugh-out-loud disjunctions in scale," New York's David Edelstein writes. Rylance's leading performance is particularly spectacular, he notes, as "his cracked, tender Cockney voice with its ebbs and flows is exquisite, and he all but sings those made-up words that tickle the ear and confound the spell-checker. Watching him slurp down a dozen runny fried eggs in Buckingham Palace and fart with serenity, you might think you've never seen such a perfect fusion of a radiant old soul and a toddler."

• "Spielberg smartly utilizes the strengths of many of his usual collaborators, starting with his latest one," USA Today's Brian Truitt writes. "Through performance capture, Rylance brings a gentle goodness but also a world-weary gravitas to the BFG—there is tragedy to his story that he has to overcome. While the BFG himself is a remarkable special effect, there are a few CGI stumbles inserting a little girl into his world and trying to make it look real." Despite their best efforts, he argues that Spielberg and Mathison weren't able to recreate the magic they made together in 1982's E.T. "With its lack of dramatic action, The BFG doesn't rise to the ranks of the director's family-friendly best," he says, "but it's still a frothbuggling, jumpsquiffling good time."