Reel Reviews
Movie: “Jack the Giant Slayer” is Not a Substitute for the Fairytale
March 7, 2013
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Can Hollywood not have one original thought anymore? Every film seems to be a prequel or based on a fairytale, a novel or book series, a graphic novel, an older movie, etc. Are there no original concepts and stories left to be told? “Jack the Giant Slayer” is one of the victims of unoriginal ideas, as the film is based on the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk.

A young farm boy, Jack (Nicholas Hoult, “X-Men: First Class”), and young princess, Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson, “Alice in Wonderland”), are raised on stories of the war between their people and the giants that live in the sky. These tales involved a brave king, magic beans and a special crown that was able to control the giants and win the war in favor of the humans. As the two grow up, they cling to their childhood stories both wishing for a life of adventure instead of the lives they were each born into.

When the evil Roderick (Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”) gets his hands on the crown and the beans from the stories, with plans on ruling the kingdom with an army of giants at his side, a good intentioned monk steals the beans and gives them to Jack while he is in the marketplace for safe keeping. On a rainy night, when Jack welcomes a house guest in the form of a runaway Isabelle, the beans become wet and grow into a gigantic beanstalk. The princess becomes trapped at the top and a rescue team led by royal guard Elmont (Ewan McGregor, “Moulin Rouge!”), Roderick and Jack go after her.

Once at the top, the rescuers quickly discover that they will be the ones who need the rescuing and that another war between humans and giants is imminent and unavoidable.

“Jack the Giant Slayer” is by no means a good film, but it also certainly is not the worst film ever made. The plot is thin and the dialogue is clunky and even cringe worthy throughout; both of these elements cause the film to drag on for far too long. Hoult and Tomlinson have nice chemistry and they do seem to be giving their roles all they have got, but sadly they had so little to work with that it was all for not. Tucci and McGregor both have their moments, but again, if the leads had so little to work with these two were given even less.

One of the stronger points of the film are it sets and its scenery; they truly convey what a fairytale land looks like in most people’s heads, from the poor farmhouse to the royal palace to the marketplace and the giants lair they were spot on. The CGI giants were also decent, nothing to write home about, but functional.    

“Jack the Giant Slayer” is rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language and runs 114 minutes. It is in theaters now.