John Williams

The BFG [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson

John Williams' first score to appear after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The BFG marks the iconic film composer's 28th feature collaboration with director Steven Spielberg. An acronym for the Big Friendly Giant, the family film concerns a giant who, at odds with his society, refuses to eat children. It's based on the book by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda). With leaping phrases and a whimsical character, both reminiscent of the effervescence of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Williams sets the tone for fantasy in the "Overture." Harp and woodwinds play a large part in the opening, in addition to strings. Piano takes some of the spotlight on the more menacing "The Witching Hour" that follows, and brass intervenes in "To Giant Country." Later, low strings and horns, a single-note melody on piano, and tremolos distinguish the tenser "There Was a Boy." Sometimes reflective but almost always percolating, the score delivers more than mere background music. After 60 years in the business, Williams' work still sounds inspired, and that's saying something in an industry that, frankly, requires a lot of fast work with often homogeneous results. Here, a track like "Dream Country" unfolds like a self-contained, 20th century symphonic fantasia, and not at all like the work of an overtired programmer. Offering over an hour of original music, The BFG is a pleasure that, like many of Williams' scores, plays very well separate from the film.

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