Jack the Giant Killer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jack the Giant Killer Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 30, 2018
Yes that's right, before the dreadfully bland CGI update there was this much better film, I bet many of you didn't know the 2013 film was an updated remake huh. This film is loosely based on the old fable 'Jack the Giant Killer' and not the fairytale 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.

The film takes place in merry old England, Cornwall, which is ruled by a good king. At this time the Princess is being crowned so she may rule as Queen, but the evil banished sorcerer 'Pendragon' returns and tricks the King and Princess into accepting a gift that will eventually steal her away back to the evil sorcerers castle. Long story short Jack is chosen to set sail for this castle and rescue the Princess in true fairytale style.

What really hits you about this film straight away is the lavish production values. Immediately in the first scene you can tell this film had a lot of highly skilled people working on it from costumes to sets and props. Everybody in every scene looks quite elegant in their royal fairytale ceremonial splendour, of course its not meant to be realistic so its all bright colours, bold makeup and lots of artistic license by American's on what old England apparently looked like. You can easily compare this film to 'The Wizard of Oz' in terms of in your face technicolour.

The characters are nothing exciting really, stereotypical hero, Princess, King, evil wizard, slimy sidekick etc...its all here and utterly cliched to the hilt. But this is 1962, this is what they did back then, the difference was the charming performances by the stars and the quaint yet magnificent visuals.

Once again Torin Thatcher steals the show as Pendragon the evil sorcerer (great name). Despite looking like Emperor Ming the Merciless this character is perfectly dastardly and gloriously sinister, the facial hair helps. What I love about Torin (and many old stars of the silver screen) is the fact you can understand every word he says, his speech is perfect, his motions are perfect...the man was a perfect performer. Yes his performance would be viewed by today's standards as ultra cheesy, yes it is very pantomime-like, but its so enjoyable to watch and hear him speak. Listening to him plot his devious schemes whilst rubbing his claw-like hands together is just so cool.

Kerwin Matthews is once again our hero and he does a sterling job of it too. Admittedly his performance mirrors his performance for 'Sinbad' to the point that they could be the same character but hey the guy was dashing.

Effects wise this film is poor, really really poor, Harryhausen quality stop motion you say? No. The action sequences involving stop motion are absolutely awful, some of the worst I've ever seen, it looks like a child has made the creatures out of play-doh. On top of that the creatures are laughable, just horrible! Worst ever!! Really ruins the film to be honest. The giant 'Cormoran' also looks suspiciously like the cyclops from 'The seven voyages of Sinbad', hmmm. There is also much bluescreen/superimposing as you might expect with a film like this, some not too bad, some nasty, but that's a given.

A true family film to be sure, the visuals are a display of classic fairytale pageantry set within the classic story of goodies vs baddies. Torin and his spooky crew of glowing demon-like witches are the best thing going here as they all prance about in their cobweb ridden castle. You feel yourself wanting to shout out 'he's behind you!!' at times, its all very cute. Think the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys...but much much tamer and adorable. Although I must admit some of the witch costumes are quite scary close up (mainly the facial masks), for kids at least. Some look a bit like 'Ghostface' from the scream franchise whilst some are more skeletal, quite macabre.

The only thing that springs to mind is the fact the film is called 'Jack the Giant Killer', yet Jack only kills one giant at the start. So again like the new film there isn't actually much giant killing at all really, plenty of spell casting and witchcraft though.
½ April 26, 2016
A typical fairy tale movie with less than typical stop motion effects, but it's still has a fun side to it and charm associated with the genre. The story isn't too complex, but it has plenty of twists and turns, surprises and colorful characters. It doesn't leave much of a impact, but they don't make them like this anymore.
January 21, 2015
Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

This is one of those great 1960s movie fantasies that Hollywood did for kids. The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1973), and a few others were fun, colorful, movies for the Saturday matinee.

They usually featured veteran character actor, Torin Thatcher, who usually played villainous magicians, sorcerers, or warlocks causing havoc to the hero and his damsel in distress. Many times these movies would have cool boats, ships, or other gadgets, and lets not forget the incredible monsters, thanks to the great single-frame animator, Ray Harryhausen.

Jack the Giant Killer may have been a movie on a smaller scale budget than these others, and it didn't have quite the Harryhausen mastery of other movies. It was also highly predictable. It is rated "G" after-all. But, it's not a total waste of your time.

Jack (Kerwin Mathews) is a handsome young farmer, whose late father fought for the king. Think of the Mickey Mouse's Jack the Giant Slayer and not the Jack and the Beanstalk variety. Pendragon (Thatcher) is a warlock who was banished from Cornwall to an island but has designs of revenge and to be the next reigning king.

The present king's beautiful daughter, Princess Elaine (Judi Meredith) has just been given her tiara and Pendragon, in disguise, has shown up at her coming-out party with a strange gift; a little man who comes out of his box and dances for the princess. That night the little man grows into a giant who kidnaps Princess Elaine. Jack comes to the rescue.
April 13, 2013
A farmboy turned knight must protect a princess from an evil wizard. Fun and cheesy adventure film with some nice stop motion animation effects.
½ April 11, 2013
got this mixed up with jack the giant slayer... 5 mins binned
½ April 1, 2013
"Jack the Giant Killer" basically boils down to a knock-off of the Ray Harryhausen action fantasy films and the effects aren't nearly as good, but it's got a lot of charm and it's a fun story. It's no coincidence that this film not only stars Kerwin Matthews (who starred in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad") but also features a several giants that ressemble the cyclops from the film and several other stop motion monsters; this was made to cash-in on the genre. The special effects, unfortunately aren't nearly as good. The animation is not as smooth and there are a couple of errors in the animation (a scene early on where a tree branch appears and disappears is the most glaring example) and at times the effects are downright cheesy. While sailing for Normandy, the cast are attacked by witches and we get a day-for-night shot that's tinted purple with really weird looking light effects.

What the movie lacks in technical prowess though, it really makes up for in charm. This story hits pretty much every single fantasy trope and that's where it works. Had the story done a few, it would seem cliché but you get everything here. You get giants, a dragon (though it's labelled as a harpy in the trailer), you get an evil wizard with a Dracula cape, witches, curses that turn people into animals, a princess that's kidnapped so the villain can marry her, a farmboy that rises to become a great hero, a magial genie, a kid sidekick, witches, magical weapons and more. Everything you could want in a fantasy story is present here and it makes the whole story feel delightfully nostalgic, even if you've never seen it before. Some of the characters that would normally feel annoying, like the kid sidekick and the wish-granting leprechaun that speaks in rhymes are also well done and overall, they work. It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes this so much fun to watch, but the action scenes are well done, the plot moves quickly and the characters are likeable. There are also some good fight scenes with the monsters and the villain, "Pendragon" is such a stereotypical fantasy villain that he's delightful. He even has a hunchback sidekick and widow's peak to go along with his vampire cape.

The movie might not be a masterpiece but it's just this weird mix of things that all happen to work together. Children and adults will enjoy the familiarity of the story and the creatures, fans of stop motion will enjoy it because of the craftsmanship and the creature design (they may be knockoffs but they're decent knockoffs of really good products) and particularly if you saw this as a kid and liked it, you'll have a lot of fun revisisiting the movie. "Jack the Giant Killer" is some good fantasy fun that's just the right kind of mix of cheese and high adventure excitement. (Dvd, March 30, 2013)
March 26, 2013
jack the giant killer
½ March 16, 2013
Weak plot, (mostly) wooden acting, predictable script... can I have my 90 minutes back please?
½ March 5, 2013
Pure spectacle and delight, in the form of a great high adventure fantasy film. Jack is a farmer who saves the princess from a giant, and they label him Jack the Giant Killer. The evil wizard Pendragon is still after his revenge, so he sends all sorts of nasty creatures to kidnap the Princess and kill Jack. Full of monsters, magic, and might Ray Harryhausen effects, Jack the Giant Killer is killer fun.
January 14, 2013
Now don't get me wrong here. I think Jack the Giant Killer isn't quite up to snuff when it comes to being more or less an imitation of a Ray Harryhausen film, but that's not totally its fault. The film was actually directed by the same man who directed The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Nathan Juran, so you have to at least cut the film a little bit of slack. Sure the stop-motion effects aren't quite as spectactular or as imaginitive as they are in other films of this type, but it's not completely worthless either. The story itself is pretty decent, but I think I would have retitled the film as The Adventures of Jack the Giant Killer. Seems more appropriate, being that the film isn't geared toward a final confrontation between Jack and a giant, which is slightly misleading. I think it's meant to give you an idea of what you're going to see, and in my case, I expected a Clash of the Titans outcome with a final fight between man and beast, but it didn't happen that way. I'd also recommend the Rifftrax version of the film for some laughs. The movie doesn't rise to even mediocre, but it does manage to reel in the flavor of the genre that was popular at the time.
½ November 26, 2012
considering the year it was made and the special effects back then, it's not a bad movie.
½ November 8, 2012
I loved as a Child and find that if you can find it, it is good to watch with children 6 and older , not sure about younger 'cause of a few spots.
August 6, 2012
Luckily, I saw the original cut without all the unecessary musical numbers. I liked the first act of this movie with the giant and the farm boy saving the princess. Then in the second half, it gets all silly and campy and I started to lose interest. The effects are still good for its time, but I wish the second act was as good as the first act.

Grade: B-
½ June 28, 2012
Definitely a kids show and in '62 I was a kid and was spellbound by it all, the magic, the monsters, princess Elaine and the leprechaun in the bottle.
½ May 12, 2012
It was a stupid movie but it was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. I'll never forget it.
February 21, 2012
Loved it from years ago
February 4, 2012
One of my favorite stop-motion animation movies, the animation is purposefully done in a cartoonish way which adds to the charm of the film.
September 22, 2011
Though it's entertaining in that old-fashioned fantasy sense, this just isn't a good movie. The special effects suck and I'm sure a decent amount of them actually sucked at the time this was made. The acting is bad, the costumes are straight from the local Renaissance Fair. Though I must admit the last act was pretty cool.
August 18, 2011
It was so awful and ridiculous that... It ended up being incredibly amusing
½ August 15, 2011
this movie is so cheesy yet feels pretty classic
the actors seem to be having a good time too
the special effects are really outdated; alot of stop-motion with clay figures but you can get past it
its a pretty neat plot even if it does sound standard
thank goodness the princess character isnt the damsel in distress 100% of the time
good, old fashioned fantasy with some heart and alot to look at
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