Movie Review: Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Drama, Romance

jack the giant slayer

Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is an 18 year old farm boy in the kingdom of Cloister.  Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is Princess of the same kingdom.  They both hear a tale of how Isabelle’s ancestor, King Erik rids the kingdom of giants by fashioning a special crown.  The giants climbed down to Cloister on giant beanstalks grown with magic beans. The crown and magic beans were buried with King Eric, until a monk trades them to Jack claiming they’re valuable.  Jack’s uncle is unimpressed by the magic beans and throws them on the floor.  Determined to go on an adventure, the Princess sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house.

The rain makes the beans grow into a giant beanstalk that takes Isabelle and Jack’s house to where the giants reside, Jack falls off the beanstalk and needs help to climb up the beanstalk from one of Isabelle’s guardians named Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and they make it to the top of the beanstalk along with  Roderick, Isabelle’s  betrothed husband (Stanley Tucci).  Roderick has no intention of marrying Isabelle, he finds and steals Erik’s crown, and plans to invade Cloister with his new loyal subjects, the giants.  Can Jack escape the giants, save Princess Isabelle and stop Roderick’s evil plan to take over Cloister?

This is not even a faithful retelling of the child’s story.  There is no princess in the original story, but I guess the producers wanted to appeal to the 18-25 demographic, and the only way to do that is to have a syrupy sweet sickening love story, stuck in the middle of an adventure story.  There are many giants in the movie, because one giant is too boring for a short attention span plagued youth. And instead of one giant saying Fee Fi Fo Fum, those are the names of four giants.  As if that’s not bad enough, the writers dumb down the giants even more by showing one picking his nose and another one passing gas.  So much for taking the high road.

At some point, Jack the Giant Slayer takes a turn into self-parody.  In a scene when the giants are shooting flaming trees into the castle, I’m reminded of the scene from the classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when the French shoot a cow out of a catapult to repel the English.  The flaming tree scene was the only funny moment in this movie and it was unintentional.  Just when the story should have been winding down, it sprouts another subplot, and I had to sit through another 40 minutes of drudgery.

This is another movie dominated by CGI and special effects, but the special effects stink.  I swore I could see the green screen at least twice, that is not good moviemaking.  The opening montage, which is all CGI, has graphics worse than any video game, it’s laughable.  And this is your introductory sequence to audiences?  An opening sequence should knock people off their feet, it should set the tone for the entire movie.  Unfortunately this opening does just that, in a bad way.

The acting is generally poor.  Nicholas Hoult plays another love interest as he did in Warm Bodies, playing the same poor guy in love with a rich girl that he played in Warm Bodies, except he’s more of a simpering wimp then he was in Warm Bodies, this time with a flaw, he’s afraid of heights.  Eleanor Tomlinson doesn’t make much of an impression, she says she’s seeking adventure, but in reality her character is nothing more than a damsel in distress.  I feel sorry for Ewan McGregor, a really good actor in films like Big Fish or Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, tries mightily to pump some life into the character and film, but one person can’t save a movie, and this movie doesn’t deserve saving.  There’s a cat that shows up in this movie movie with a look of bemused detachment on his face.  I wish I could have a bemused detachment about this movie, but I can’t, it’s that bad.

Jack The Giant Slayer.  Doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

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