Jack the Giant Slayer is an American fantasty-adventure film based on the English fairy tales “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The film is directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, Valkryie), with a screenplay written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Thomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighty, and Ewan McGregor. The film tells the story of Jack, who is a simple farmboy who stumbles across some magic beans that sprout huge beanstalks that lead to a new land he had heard of when he was a boy, and once the fair princess mysteriously disappears above one of these beanstalks, he goes on an adventure in this new land filled with giants. (Running Time: 114 minutes)(Rated PG13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language)
…Huh. What to say about this movie? (Pause to think long and hard) Well…it has big, ugly giants in it.
Eh, maybe I’m being too harsh already.
The family adventure film has a very simple story to it, based on a fairy tale we all know about (or have seen the Mickey Mouse version with a harp at the damsel in distress), but executed in the nowaday “norm” of an action movie. It had the opening legend, the brief “mystery” interlude, then some sudden peril and action, and boom!–we have man-eating giants in our midst! But after the first half, the movie begins to slowly pick up, thanks to Ewon McGregor’s Errol Flynn lookalike humor.
The casting choices of this film were nothing special in my opinion. Due to the fact that there were very little depth with all the characters, so the actors had nothing to draw from. I felt more connected the two-headed giant for the first while! Once more, McGregor was probably the best acting choice for this picture, as little screentime as he had. He was the main reason I kept watching. Although Ian McShane (another small part) was not too bad–but once again, had very little to do with the story or its depth.
I will leave this usual paragraph for production design, costume design, music, editing, etc empty. There was honestly nothing terribly or outrageously brilliant about this movie’s [item’s above], I hate to say. Some of the CGI was pretty good. That was the reason the movie was pushed back almost six month. For the special effects guys to catch up.
(Sighing long and hard) Bryan Singer. Well, I believe he is a very good director. Talented and gifted. Valkryie (2008) will remain one of my absolute favorites for quite a while. But…I have no idea why he went and made this career move. He took over the director’s chair for this movie after D. J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, I Am Number Four, Disturbia) was fired, with a reasonable offer from the studio, I believe. But I thought better of him than this. I honestly did. Perhaps X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) next year will be a definite upswing in his career.
After the huge success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Fast and Furious, and more, I see all the major Hollywood studios trying to grab on to any potential action, money-making series that will come there way. I think this was their attempt with Jack. It possess the “potential qualities” of the start to a new action-adventure series that is violent enough–but not gory enough for almost all ages and fast-paced, easy-moving story with little real life politics involved. –Although, not to spoil anything, it ended very abruptly and on a note that I would never be inclined to see sequels. Early on, during negotiations with the studio, that was the pitch; make a series of Jack & Giant movies. After the box office flop, I doubt that ship will ever sail.
Jack was filmed on a big studio budget of $190 million, but barely passed that mark, losing to the audience’s disappointment by all the money spent on marketing. It was generally received with mixed and negative reviews from critics, with audiences leaving iffy over the whole Jack & Giants idea. Apparently, it just was not there cup of tea–nor was it mine.
Once again, maybe I pin a lot of expectation on this movie to begin with and it leaves me no choice but to pick it apart. But maybe if I happen to watch it again someday, maybe I’ll think differently of it. For now, a lower 3 out of 7 stars. It had its fun, adventurous moments. And Ewon McGregor, (I’ve decided), would make an excellent Errol Flynn.