Saw Spielberg's "The BFG" yesterday.
Positives: looks terrific; the female lead is charming, as is Mark Rylance as the BFG; well directed with all of Spielberg's talent with framing gorgeous shots and terrific (but not jarring) camera movement; makes allusions in various ways to his previous films, which keeps someone like me happy.
Negative: it does lack narrative "push" in the middle section. I read some reviewer saying the first 20 minutes were not that good - in fact, I would say they are great, but it slows down after that. It then gains momentum and becomes pleasingly silly again in the last section when the Queen gets involved.
Overall I found it pretty charming, and felt it quite true to Roald Dahl (even though I haven't read the book). But I do understand why it hasn't been a big commercial success - it is too long for the real young kids (although, it must be said, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was narratively languid in the same way and still seen as a success), and too kid fantasy-centric for broad success with teenagers and young adults. (My own teenagers did see it with me, and grumbled afterwards about various aspects; but I don't doubt they were engaged and enjoyed much of it - it is a film of some depth that gives you much to talk about afterwards. They just won't admit at school today that they saw it. Especially my son...)
Speaking of CCBB - perhaps that is how the movie could have been improved - as the 1960's taught us, the addition of a handful of pleasing songs can help a long movie.
I should add - although I don't consider it a complete success for the reason I explained, I did find it actually more interesting that the overly simplistic "Bridge of Spies". I still say that while there was nothing really wrong with that movie, its narrative needed more complexity to be a great movie.