THE SETUP: Once upon a time, a kid with no real ambition sells his uncle’s horse for some magic beans. Fast forward to beanstalk, a little further you get giants…who have a taste for human blood and a need to start a war to get it. I’m sure there will be some sort of fairy tale ending.
THE THOUGHTS: After watching that trailer, I really wasn’t looking forward seeing this movie. For whatever reason, it just didn’t click with me, looking like a bloated special effects kids movie. But then I sometimes like the director (Bryan “usual Suspects, X-Men” Singer) and the lead isn’t too bad (Nicholas “Warm Bodies” Holt), …and is that Ian McShane and Stanley Tucci? OK, there was enough going for it that I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m glad I did.
THE YAYS: What does a fairy tale movie have to do to be good? What did it for me was the more Brothers Grimm rather than Disney approach to the story. People die. A lot of people die. Not well. A lot. And I’m not saying this in a morbid enjoyment way but rather that I appreciate they didn’t sanitize the story for the sake of being a “fairy tale movie”. This wasn’t played for laughs or cheesiness but really more trying to capture the adventure of it all. I think the movie did.
In the acting department, this would be more of a NAY (more on that later) but I will give kudos to Tucci and McShane, who seemed to be enjoying themselves even if they were pretty much playing their usual characters. The best was probably Ewan McGregor who seemed to relish the role of the dashing Captain of the Guards, however…
THE NAYS: …the rest of the cast were pretty much playing stereotypes. How many times have you seen the story of a princess who wanted more from life than the one she’s been assigned (Brave is the most recent) or a lower-class boy trying to prove he’s not as irresponsible as everyone thinks? I have no problems with the roles, but the actors have to bring something new to the table. Nothing was on this table.
The special effects were probably more in the “YAY’ side of things but I have to go with the negative here because my problem was with the giants, and they were a big part of the movie. The CGI was OK, making them a little on the cartoony-side and less on the realistic one. And for a movie focusing on these characters, OK wasn’t enough.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. Bryan Singer is great at taking a fantasy theme, mixing in a serious tone and getting a pretty good result. He did it with X-men and (a few) parts of Superman Returns and he does it well here. A fairy tale told well.
Splash (1984) – Before there was a “Little Mermaid”, there was Daryl Hannah. In Ron Howard’s third feature film, Tom Hanks falls in love with a mysterious girl who happens to be half fish. You can start the “fish out of water” jokes now. A fun, romantic comedy with John Candy in it is worth a look.
“A fantastic tale about a fantastic tail”. Wow, the voice over in this trailer is cheestastic.