Jack the Giant Slayer is a fantasy action-adventure film starring Nicholas Hoult (recently a zombie in Warm Bodies) and directed by Bryan Singer.
This film follows a lot of the standard fairy tale many of us have heard since childhood: Jack is sent by his uncle to sell the horse and cart in order to get enough money to live on for a while, but instead the cart is stolen and he trades the horse for some beans alleged to be magic by a monk who is trying to escape the King’s adviser’s soldiers. He also happens to rescue the princess (plays by Eleanor Tomlinson) from being accosted by some unsavory characters, though he doesn’t realize she’s the princess until the palace guards come to return her to the castle.
The princess has a penchant for running away and trying to have adventures, and she runs away again on a dark and stormy night. After getting lost, she finds Jack’s house, knocking on his door just as he’s about to leave in search of his uncle. One of the beans he got for the horse falls through a crack in the floor and water from the rain causes it to start growing. Being a magic bean, it grows quickly into a very tall stalk and carries the princess up and away to the land of the giants.
Hoult was very much more alive than in Warm Bodies, and I thought he and Isabelle positively sparked together in all their scenes. Stanley Tucci made a fine villain, and Ian McShane was every bit the King he played as well as knowing when to be a father instead of a king to his daughter. Finally, Ewan McGregor practically shined as the captain of the king’s guard, and he was quick to accept Jack as an equal once Jack showed what he could do.
I really enjoyed the wide-open adventurous feel of the film. Views from the land of the giants were properly awe-inspiring, and the giants were very well designed and implemented, with each one being unique (as far as I could tell, and I looked at them pretty closely). The scale of things in the giants’ homes worked well, too.
The only part of the film which threw me was the somewhat odd ending; it seemed there only to give a possible path for a sequel. Ending it prior to that part would have made more sense as it mostly felt thrown in as an afterthought (or at least with little thought). For that, and an only-slightly-better-than-mediocre plot, I’m giving Jack the Giant Slayer 3.5 stars. It isn’t my favorite film ever, but it’s still a fun adventure.
Release Date: March 1, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 1 (occasional mild expletive)
Violence: 4 (fantasy and war violence, giants eating people (mostly off screen))