Screenwriters: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer borrows elements from both classic fairytales, Jack the Giant Killer (which this film was originally titled) and Jack and the Beanstalk. It follows a young farmer boy named Jack (Nicholas Hoult), who blindly trades in his uncle's horse for a bag of beans instead of money. Infuriated, Jack's uncle throws the beans to the ground and leaves to sell his parent's belongings to make up for the loss. That same night, Princess Isabelle decides to run away from home. When it begins to rain, the princess decides to use Jack's home as shelter. Little did they know, something was growing beneath the house. One of Jack's beans fell out of the bag, and because of the rain, it transformed into a towering beanstalk that reached the heavens... and a horde of giants.
The film opens with some backstory, explaining the legend of the giants, their history and how the kingdom defeated them hundreds of years ago. That sequence, while informative, was shown through horribly rendered computer animation. It was so bad, I thought the visuals were on par with the 2008 movie, Delgo. Luckily, the rest of the computer rendered stuff was fantastic. The giants, which done using motion capturing, were definitely the highlight of the movie. They were frightening, crude, disgusting and absolutely fun to watch. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the live action performances.
Besides Hoult, who gives the film's most lively performance, everyone else comes off rather dull. Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays the princess, doesn't seem to deliver as either the damsel in distress or the heroine archetype. Instead, she's stuck in the middle, giving us a flat, uninteresting character opposite of our hero, Jack. Stanley Tucci, known to be a fantastic character actor, had the potential to give us a very charismatic villain, but he was completely wasted. Ewan McGreggor was fine, but didn't do anything worth mentioning here. All I saw was a differently dressed Obi-Wan Kenobi on screen.
To be fair, I'll admit the movie was a fun to watch, but that's about it. It had lot going for it, but it couldn't give me the epic I wanted. So should you watch it? Sure, if you don't mind seeing a very formulaic plot of the hero's journey. I mean, some stuff is worth admiring, like when the giant begin to raid the castle. But overall, the film falls into the category of the generic fairy tale remake.
5.6 out of 10
Review by: Richard Fagel
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