Jack the Giant Slayer


by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

What do Red Riding Hood, Hansel &  Gretel: Witch Hunters, Snow White and the Huntsman, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan all have in common? If you answered  they are all fairytales recently made into live-action films, then you  would be correct. As children, we all hear these fairytales either from  parents, in school or reading on our own, so it’s an obvious choice  for Hollywood to turn them into large film spectacles that bring what  once was only imagined to life before our eyes. And so it is with Bryen  Singer’s latest film, Jack the Giant Slayer that the story of Jack and the  Beanstalk is shaped into a new rendition of the classic tale.

As a young  boy, Jack has heard the story of Giants. They were beaten by King Eric  who was able to control them with a crown made from one of their hearts.  The king sent the Giants into the sky and cut down the beanstalk. Fast-forward  a decade and farm boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) has gone to town to sell  a horse. However, a monk gives him beans to protect instead of money.  After defending a young woman, who just happens to be Princess Isabelle  (Eleanor Tomlinson), Jack goes home to an unhappy uncle.

A few events  later, Isabelle ends up at his home and one of the magic beans falls  through the floor boards and gets wet: the one “no-no” the monk  told him about. The bean automatically sprouts, and Isabelle and the  house are carried to the heavens. King Brahmwell (Ian McShane), orders  Jack, along with the princess’ protectors, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and  Crawe (Eddie Marsan), and her husband-to-be, Roderick (Stanley Tucci),  to climb the beanstalk and bring her home. However, Roderick is in possession  of the crown that controls the Giants and has his own plan, which he  sets into action once they reach the top.

Jack the  Giant Slayer follows  a predictable path. We all know how the movie is going to play out and  the characters stick to their stereotypical roles. Jack starts out as  clueless boy and turns into a hero by the end. There is the “princess  can’t marry a commoner” rule, but we all know how that generally turns  out. You have the king’s right hand man who inevitably has his own agenda  with a goal to rule himself…yes, it is all here. But there are still  a few surprises to be had, none of which will be mentioned here.

Jack the  Giant Slayer is high  on its usage of CGI; but let’s be honest, when we’re creating huge beanstalks,  an army of giants, flying flaming trees and “pigs in a blanket,”  that’s about the only way one can go. Unless you know an army of giants  somewhere who would have been perfectly suited for this film. The huge  battle sequence brings back memories of the grand scale fights in the Lord of  the Rings trilogy,  which gives it some kudos. And the giants in Jack the  Giant Slayer look FAR  better than the troll sequence in The Hobbit. There  are times when the CGI can be a little much, and it almost feels like  we’re watching someone play a video game instead of a film. Also, some  of the physics seems a little off during some parts of the battle sequence,  but maybe I’m nitpicking.

Issues with  the film aside, I enjoyed it overall. Bryen Singer brings a new take  to the classic tale and it isn’t a walk in the park. Death is real,  and it is often gruesome, and Singer makes that a reality for the audience.  These giants aren’t soft and cuddly, nor are the inept. This also isn’t  necessarily a film for children. If you’re hoping for something like Mirror Mirror or Enchanted, you may  need to look elsewhere. Singer makes a darker version of the story that’s  fast-paced and bigger on the fantasy, but in the end, doesn’t have the  muscle to stand up against bigger box office films. That’s probably  why it was released in March. But this isn’t to say it isn’t worth seeing.  Oh, and by the way, “fe,” “fi,” “fo” and “fum” do make  an appearance!

Rating: 3.5  out of 5 stars

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