Jack and the Beanstalk Reviews

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March 21, 2011
This movie used to scare the bejesus out of me as a kid! I've been looking all over for a copy of it.
½ December 15, 2010
This is a Japanese cartoon adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. I don't know what it is about it, but I think I will always remember watching this film. It's not traumatizing or overly weird, I felt more hypnotized than anything while watching it. It's just like any other film, but I just re-watched it recently after about a 15 year gap of having no seen it and I was hit with huge wave of nostalgia, every line and song and movement was familiar. I thought it was just me of course as I am sometimes told that I have a very esoteric taste in... everything, but after browsing through some forums I discovered that almost everyone who watched this film when they were younger loved it intensely and it has affected them in someway or another. And as I re-watched it I'd have to say that I agree with the sentiment.

The story is a familiar one. A poor boy and his mother live in a little shack of a house trying to make ends meet when one day their cow stops giving milk. The mother sends the boy, Jack, to the market to get a decent price for it. On the way to the market however, the boy is intercepted by a man playing weird piano (the note from which I can always remember so clearly as they were so queer), who convinces him to take a handful of magic beans in exchange for the cow. His mother is furious and throws the beans out the window, and after disciplining Jack, goes to bed. In the night the beanstalk grows and a little mouse comes running down it. The mouse motions to Jack's dog of trouble up the beanstalk and Jack comes out of the house marvelling at what had grown in his backyard. Jack, his dog, and the mouse all climb up the beanstalk. When they get to the top they come out of an old well in the courtyard of a castle and see this girl standing there watching them with an oddly vacant expression. She is the princess of castle and she tells Jack of the joy she will have when she marries her beloved prince Tulip. Jack soon discovers that Tulip is a giant and that his mother is an evil witch who is trying become queen by enchanting the princess to want to marry her son. Jack then faces the dilemma of whether or not to help the princess or leave with his gold.

I enjoyed the characters a lot, but what I like about it is there are two stories going on at the same time, one involving people and one with animals. Jack can't understand what any of the animals say and he doesn't even pay much attention to them most of the time because he's busy with his own plot line and agenda, but there are animals throughout the movie and the all have very vibrant personalities. Even the audience can't understand what they're saying, but through movements and expressions you can tell what they're trying to say. A lot of story lines with both people and animals bridge the gap between them and let them talk to each other or let the audience understand them if the people in the film don't. The animals in this film actually have their own sub-plot.

The music in this movie is captivating. It's not an award-winning score by any means, but there is just something odd about it that catches at one's interest. It's not quite unsettling, but it doesn't fade into the background either. The music is definitely one of the aspect that will draw you into the film to make you love it. The characters are good and the plot is very interesting, but the music is what will get you. The artwork too. There's just something about the movements of the characters and the setting, especially in the castle.

As I said, this isn't the best movie I've ever seen, nor is it even the best Jack and the Beanstalk story I've heard. Despite that, this is the kind of film that you'll remember after you've grown up. I don't know what exactly it is about it, but I do know that I enjoy watching it and will probably try to obtain it at some point on dvd.
December 16, 2006
The animation may be outdated but this visually stunning, emotionally gripping masterwork animation film is simply one of the best, if not the best animated film of the 70s.

The story is quite the same in the beginning but takes a twist of a turn when Jack scurries up the Beanstalk. We have a princess who floats on clouds, enchanted by an evil witch's spell who wants to pawn her son, the giant, to marry the princess so she can rule the castle in the clouds. The princess inhales a 'magic potion' the witch makes her take in order to stay in the catataonic state she is in,--yes, her eyes are dialated.

The songs are pretty much hit or miss, with only a couple misses--jack's songs. They're very disney-esque and simplistic in their writing. The rest, are brilliant though. "Miracles Will Happen" (sung by the Beanstalk), "Silent Moon" (sung by Crosby, Jack's Dog) and "Are you Happy?" (sung by the Preist) are all very haunting, melodic, and somewhat depressing lyrically. I really empathize with the characters in this film. We even feel sorry for Tulip, the Giant at times.

The real villian in the film is the witch, Hecuba. There's not an ounce of good in her and that's what makes her a classic animated villian.

The aspect that works best about the film is it's score and songs. The score is VERY reminscent of Pink Floyd music, and the entire film has a VERY trippy feel to it. For example, when Jack climbs the Beanstalk the clouds start turning pink, purple and he stares in awe as if he's in an acid trip all on his own as the score plays. Aside from the Princess's eyes being dialated at all times due to her "medication" the Dog has hallucinations at times that have nothing to do with the film really. I'm not sure if the makers of this film were on drugs when they made it but whatever they were on I'm glad, because it's spectacular.

If you like animated films, or espeically anime, you should definitely check this out. If you like musicals, you should check it out. If you like the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and have always wondered how it would be like with a darker twist, you should check it out. I'd even go to say if you enjoy movies period: see this film. It may not be a film for everyone, but for people that appreciate animation musical films, trippy or dark films, then this is right up your alley.
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