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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Jack the Giant Slayer

JacktheGiantSlayer

Continuing the ongoing trend of fairytale adaptations, Jack the Giant Slayer expands the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk into an epic adventure for the whole family.  Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class) plays Jack, a farmboy enamoured with the legends of giants his father would read him.  One day, while in town to sell his family’s horse, Jack is given a bag of beans by a desperate monk.  He also stands up for a woman, who happens to be Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson).

Jack and Isabelle cross paths again when Isabelle runs away and comes across Jack’s house, while looking for shelter from the rain.  One of the beans comes in contact with the rainwater and sprouts up into a beanstalk, which takes Jack’s house (and Isabelle) with it.  Jack volunteers to King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) to join, the leader of the guard, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and, Isabelle’s shady fiancé, Roderick (Stanley Tucci) to climb the beanstalk and save Isabelle from the giants, lead by General Fallon (voice of Bill Nighy), that have her held captive.

Jack the Giant Slayer is the first film in five years for director Bryan Singer.  Even though he has previously directed effects-driven films, such as the X-Men series and Superman Returns, this is probably the largest scale film Singer has done, which includes an army of CGI giants.  I’ve been hearing criticism about the quality of the CGI in the film and think it’s quite silly how snobby people have become in regards to visual effects.  Yes, CGI has improved greatly in the last decade, however I don’t mind it that the giants have an unrealistic and cartoony look to them.  Not every CGI creation has to match the photorealistic effects found in The Lord of the Rings or Avatar.  There is a CGI animated sequence early in the film, which may come off to some as low-grade, however I think the sequence was trying to look more like an animated storybook.

As for the film itself, I thought that it was an enjoyable family-friendly adventure film.  That said, the film might come off as a little scary to very young children, especially in how the giants have the habit of picking people up and biting their heads off (in a non-gory fashion of course).  The film has two antagonists in the form of Roderick and General Fallon, even though the final act focuses more on the latter.  Both are effective in their roles, though Fallon has the disadvantage of having a second head, which speaks absolute gibberish, in a very goofy manner.  It’s also interesting how the familiar phrase “Fee Fye Foe Fumm” becomes the names of Fallon’s four main henchmen.

The film has quite a large ensemble cast, some some of which – including Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner, and Warwick Davis – are only seen in bit parts.  Nicholas Hoult has been on the rise lately, with this film being his latest major role, after X-Men: First Class and Warm Bodies.  I also have to say that I got a major “Obi Wan Kenobi” vibe from Ewan McGregor’s performance as the knight Elmont.  He even says “I Got a Bad Feeling About This” at one point during the film.  I don’t know if this was an intentional homage to his most well-known role or merely an interesting coincidence.

Overall, I enjoyed Jack the Giant Slayer for what it is – an epic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, which is fun for the whole family.

8 | LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).