The teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 book, The BFG, nicely taps into that childhood sweet spot between fear and wonder, as young orphan Sophie talks about the approach of the “witching hour,” a time of strange occurrences while all the other girls in the orphanage are sound asleep. And sure enough, as the witching hour commences one fateful night, Sophia sees a cloaked giant (the Big Friendly Giant, in fact) outside her window. As she dives back into her bed, she finds that blankets are no protection from a massive hand reaching through her window and plucking her from her miserable existence. The trailer stops there, but fans of the book know that the giant and Sophia are bound for Giant Country, where they will enlist the help of the Queen to save the children of England from other giants who aren’t as progressive as the BFG and insist on devouring kids.
What this teaser is missing—besides the majority of the plot, obviously—is the book’s skewed sense of humor. Sure, the original story has it share of macabre aspects (the giants are named things like Meatdripper and Childchewer), but it also has a lot of fun lampooning normalcy via scenarios where villains are chased away by the taste of vegetables and the Queen’s staff struggles to create a table setting for an oversized person. Also, one of the standout scenes from the 1989 animated TV adaptation is basically a fart anthem, so the comedy is pretty important. Quentin Blake’s charming illustrations also appear to be missing, but we don’t get a good look at the giant here, so perhaps his art style provided inspiration for the film. All speculation aside, this is Spielberg adapting Dahl from a script by E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison, so approaching it with anything but optimism is out of the question. The BFG will be release on July 1, 2016.