Magic beans and angry giants… Christoffer Ohlson reviews Jack the Giant Slayer.
Jack the Giant Slayer
The low down: Farm boy Jack accidentally plants magic beans under his house, causing a beanstalk to grow that leads to the land of the giants. He then mounts an epic rescue mission to free a kidnapped princess and battle the biggest foes he has ever met…
The review: This is as fairytale as it gets! It’s a simple, fresh, truly cinematic experience. The cast is very well chosen: a heroic but hunching Nicholas Hoult as Jack, pretty enough Eleanor Tomlinson as a perfect princess, an excellent Ian McShane as his excellence the king. Throw into the mix Ewan McGregor as the determined do-good knight and Stanley Tucci as a deceitful nobleman and you have as strong a cast as you are likely to find.
Jack the Giant Slayer is a visually enhanced recycling of a legendary story. The visual effects are perfectly adequate and director Bryan Singer has obviously planned his shots with the 3D in mind, which in my opinion makes this film one of the more successful experiences since Avatar.
It doesn’t suffer from pointless prolonging sub-stories like some fantasy fairytales, which makes for a solid tale built merely on an airy Brothers Grimm template. It has a few bean and size jokes (but stays away from stalking) and some nicely planted pay-offs.
The best: The cast, the wonderful new take on pigs in a blanket, and a showdown literally growing through the roof, putting a twist to the ending.
The worst: The predictability: this is not a question of if, but when and how things are going down. To some it may come off as too nice. There is hardly any bloodshed at all, other than the occasional giant-biting-off-a-knight’s-head. Or entire torso…
Verdict: This is a straight-out-of-the-tin story that makes for fretless fun without being too forced and silly. It’s cute and wholesome, but even though it is a true bed-time story, it’s a handsomely packaged mouthful of giant banging and magic beans in a mash!
Celluloid influences: Mirror, Mirror + Gulliver’s Travels = Jack the Giant Slayer