Saturday, 9 March 2013

Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

Magic Beans Solve All Your Problems: Jack the Giant Slayer

Released: March 1, 2013
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie
Rating: PG
Eleanor Tomlinson as Isabelle
Ewan McGregor as Elmont
Stanley Tucci as Roderick
Ewen Bremner as Wicke
Ian McShane as King Brahmwell

Full Cast and Crew HERE

     Jack, a simple farmboy sent on an errand ends up in the middle of a plot full of intrigue and desperation when a bag of magic beans ends up in his hands and sends him on a whirlwind adventure up a beanstalk to face creatures that had faded into legend...


     In continuing with the popular theme of re-vamping classic children's tales with a darker twist (like Snow White and the Huntsman or Hansel and Gretel); Jack the Giant Slayer seems to have gotten confused somewhere in its production. It wanted to be that violent movie with giants crushing puny humans left and right, but then it remembered it was originally a children's tale and so they tamed it down. So what we got was an oddly mixed movie stuck in the middle.

     It starts with some background of this world and the legend of the giants. With a slightly religious explanation behind how humans and giants met, this short story reaches a pretty epic conclusion and sets the scene for their descendants as the giants fade back into myth. 

     Jack was equal parts simple farmboy and an all around good guy. He does his best and is stupidly brave. His character is clever and a quick thinker, but I feel like any success he has was driven by sheer dumb luck. 

     Isabelle - the rebellious princess of the realm wants to experience the world and really get to know the people in order to be a "good ruler". In theory it's a great idea and something to commend her for. But in execution it becomes a train wreck. With little to no life skills she becomes a damsel in distress very quickly. 

     Then we've got the valiant loyal knight Elmont, the devious plotting Roderick and his irritating sidekick Wicke. Wicke ended up sticking out most in my mind, purely because his character was that henchman that's constantly hovering over the shoulder and a bumbling idiot that you just want to be quiet already! 

     The actors themselves all did a good job. The characters were pretty standard good guy/bad guy so there wasn't anything new there. I happen to really love Ewan McGregor but that aside he was snarky and perfect as Elmont. The giants were reduced to emaciated brutes that looked like they could have used some vit. C to cure that scurvy. They were the basis for a few cheap booger jokes and some yelling and thrashing. Because it's rated PG, it has to be reasonably family friendly so a lot of the Giant related deaths are off screen, or you just see the blurry fast results of falling great heights. 

     There were so many plot holes and inconsistencies! My boyfriend and I spent the drive home asking each other questions like "What about female giants?" (The original Jack and the Beanstalk story that this move loosely takes from involved the Giant's wife), or what happened to his uncle? Or the nonsensical and awkward size of a certain crown that apparently fits two fingers (why not just make it one finger?!) of a giant, but perfectly on the head of a human. 

     The romance is the classic "oh you saved me, my hero!" kind of love and for a princess that wanted to take charge of her life, she sure didn't mind letting the men lead. 

     So invariably in these medieval fantasy stories everyone speaks in an English accent (it's like everyone Roman does too >.>), but it was for a good reason and apparently the directors were trying to tie to the mythos in original Jack the Giant Killer story - but when it happened it felt so left field that it just takes you out of the magic of the story.

Overall: 3/5 Drinkable Cups of Tea.
It's entertaining, but the 3D aspect really did nothing to add to it (but to fluff up the movie price). The epic battle at the end fell really flat - I never felt like it got to that critical moment where you question if they're going to make it or not before the savior sweeps in. You should definitely wait until it comes out on DVD if you really want to see it.

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