Jack the Giant Slayer Reviews
Yet another famous children's fairytale gets the big screen treatment but can you make a entire film out of a rather short and rather simple fable? The other question is which fable is this film supposedly based upon? Jack and the Beanstalk? or Jack the Giant Killer? Both are very different yet this film merges the two or so it seems. At the same time the films animated intro felt very much like a rip of the 'Hellboy 2' intro, whilst the entire plot about this magical crown felt like a rip off 'Lord of the Rings'.
This whole idea felt very much like a one trick pony to me, that trick simply being the excuse to show huge CGI giants eating people and going on a rampage, and that's it. The rest of the film felt so utterly pointless it was almost laughable. Half the film seems to be based on the beanstalk fairytale with the second half based around the giant killer fable but at the same time neither are remotely accurate to the original sources. So why not just make a completely independent giant fantasy?
Everything about this just felt like a misfire to me. The casting was poor, Nicholas Hoult is just a very average actor with a very odd haircut (what is going on with that parting?! had the same stupid cut for 'Warm Bodies'). Eleanor Tomlinson as the Princess was so very bland, not particularly attractive and not particularly useful in any way, whilst Ewan McGregor seemed to be doing his weak ass Jedi thing all over again. Only decent performance came from the ever reliable Tucci. Overall the characters weren't really developed much and there was a distinct lack of a really bad baddie.
On top of that the effects weren't even that good! the giants looked exactly like what they were, big CGI giants. It looks like they're trying to make them appear realistic but not entirely, but they look awful. Especially the two headed giant leader with that shitty Gollum-like head, what the hell! giant fail there folks (see what I did there heh). Plus why are most of the giants Irish? am I missing something there? and why aren't there any female giants? how does this race keep going? am I being too picky?
Even the beanstalk looked pretty naff frankly. The only thing that looked good was the CGI landscapes and the giant island in the sky, but as usual way too much reliance on CGI. There seemed to be many giant waterfalls going over the edge of the giant island, where exactly does all that water go??
Bottom line this just feels like a jump on that fairytale action flick bandwagon we have seen recently. All the usual big CGI battles, stunts, camera angles etc...the same recycled crud we've seen over and over again. Predictable as usual in that boring modern Hollywood cookie cutter fashion. The plot is thinner than a catwalk model after she's just stepped out of the toilet and to make matters worse the CGI effects are pretty terrible. So you can't even call this a sharp looking updated piece of crap, its just crap.
Oh and the final twist at the end is useless. I mean really, is that suppose to be clever? gee...errr...genius. And while I'm at it, the films title is 'Jack the Giant Slayer', many giants get killed here but I believe Jack only kills one, so he doesn't slay much then.
half a star for Bill Nighy
half star for the rest of the film.
Better of giving this film a miss. :)
That might seem somewhat surprising given the material. Jack the Giant Slayer was never the most gripping of the old English fairy tales: A kid with buyer's remorse accidentally plants a beanstalk and climbs his newly acquired foliage to a magic castle occupied by a grump with a severe case of gigantism and low social skills. Not much to build a movie on.
Screenwriters Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney do the material a service by changing it up and expanding the story in order to give it some energy. Their expanded story contains only the framework of the original. It begins in the kingdom of Cloister with the reading of an ancient legend being told to two children, one is a royal, the other is a peasant. Jack, a farm boy, practically has the story memorized. While at the castle a little princess named Isabel is being read the same story and it places in her heart a spirit of adventure. This framing device pays off in a really beautiful way.
Jump forward a decade and Jack (Nicolas Hoult from Warm Bodies) is a strapping young buck without a penny to his name. He goes to the town market to sell his uncle's horse (horses are more interesting than cows) and meets a friar that, at first, offers him money but then offers him a handful of beans that he claims hold the fate of the world. He's right because high above the earth lays the kingdom of the giants. Yes, giants, more than one. In fact, more than you might imagine although curiously no females. Maybe there's a reason they're so grumpy.
Later an accident causes one of Jack's magic beans to seep into the grown and what is produced is a beanstalk that doesn't grow overnight, but actually grows right before Jack's eyes. The problem: the stalk has taken away not only the kid's house but also the King's daughter Isabel who was passing by. The King (Ian McShane) learns of his daughter's dilemma and summons his best men, including Elmont (Ewan McGregor) the leader of the king's elite guard, and Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), the king's adviser, who has a plan for usurping the king using the giants (long story), to climb up and retrieve his beloved daughter.
What follows is difficult to describe without spoilers but what can be reported is that the screenplay is open enough to new ideas. It doesn't follow a simplistic slog from beginning to the inevitable conclusion, but contains set pieces that are short works of genius, like a scene in which Jack and Elmont attack a giant with a bee hive; or a bit in a giant's kitchen with the chef who, literally, makes pigs-in-a- blanket. And, of course, the breathtaking moment when the beanstalk comes crashing down.
The story told here is a good one. Yes, the characters could use a little more definition but you're having so much fun along the way that you hardly notice. Elmont might easily be the hero of this adventure but since Isabel's eyes are so glued to Jack, he gives hints that he might feel a bit left out.
Jack the Giant Slayer isn't a perfect movie but it is better than you might expect. Its fun where other CG adventures are merely exercises in special effects. The effects give the giants personality. Yes, they're nasty but you can tell them apart. They are more than just the sum of their pixels, and so is the screenplay which has time for perfect little moments of ingenuity. This is a fun movie.