Movie Title: Jack the Giant Slayer
Date Released: March 1st, 2013
Date Seen: March 2nd, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
I had very low expectations going into this movie – and am happy to say that the movie was significantly better than I expected. It still wasn’t a great movie, but much better than I came in thinking and for that, I was happy.
The story is similar to the typical Jack and the Beanstalk story, with some differences. The movie opens first with a history of some King, who fought the Giants, ended up making a crown forged with magic and the heart of a giant – which then allowed the king to control the Giants. He banished them back to their kingdom, all beanstalks were cut down and the only remaining beans were kept hidden. So now, generations later (when Giants are thought to be legends), that shit all comes back to haunt them. Then we move on to the main story which of course involves Jack going up a beanstalk, he has to save the princess, and more stuff happens. Plot wise, it was fairly straight forward and predictable, but still fun to watch. There were some amusing moments, such as funny or just plain silly (one Giant has two heads, one of which just kind of makes silly noises). I liked them and didn’t find them obnoxious.
One main problem with the movie was I felt like the actors were under-utilized. I think Nicholas Hoult is a good actor (if his performance when he was younger in About a Boy still counts.. and he was good as Beast in the new X-Men), and they could have just made his character a little better. Ewan McGregor I think did a fine job and was used well. Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane were WAY underutilized. Stanley Tucci’s only real funny part occurs in the trailer, so you know it’s coming. Ian McShane is the king and is always in heavy armor or insane robes and such so he always had this air of uncomfortableness about him. If you’re going to cast someone as awesome as Ian McShane, come on, actually use him.
The CGI was alright. I expected it to be a bit better. I sometimes found myself thinking about “man, this scene would look idiotic as you filmed it” – because it’s clear the actors are staring at something that isn’t really there. That’s really bad – CGI shouldn’t take you out of the movie that much.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised but still kind of just not wowed by this movie. With Bryan Singer as the director, it could have (and should have) been better. I mean come on, he brought us X-Men! He wrote 3 of those movies though, and he did not write Jack. Maybe that’s the problem? Luckily, the trailer kind of hints at what this movie will be – a movie that 10-15 year olds should like and feel cool to go see, and everyone else just thinks it’s alright.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Mini-Synopsis
I don’t feel like writing a synopsis today, but will give the jist of the plot.
Jack meets Princess Isabelle, Aladdin and Jasmine style (she’s out in the city trying to not be recognized as a princess, and he stops people from harassing her). Her caretaker, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) comes to get her, takes her to her dad, the King (Ian McShane) who reminds her that soon she will be marrying Roderick (Stanley Tucci). She doesn’t want that wants to do her own thing and blah.
Jack tries to sell the family horse, doesn’t sell the horse, instead gives it to a desperate monk on the run who gives him these magic beans – stipulating that he MUST not get them wet. Jack goes home, his uncle is pissed, throws the beans on the floor, one falls, uncle leaves to sell some more stuff, and of course it starts raining. Isabelle runs away, of course whose house does she come across but Jack’s house, they chat, become friends, and boom, rain water finally hits the bean and the house gets carried away by the beanstalk with Isabelle in it.
Now there’s a mad dash to find the princess, Jack volunteers to go with the group, they start heading up the beanstalk – Roderick kills all the “red-shirts” (unnamed characters we never met so of course they must die) by cutting the rope keeping them on the beanstalk. They make it to the top, don’t find Isabelle in the house, go exploring. Crawe (Eddie Marsan) and Elmont get captured, Jack witnesses and follows. They find Isabelle in a cage, Crawe gets eaten, Elmont goes to get cooked, and Roderick reveals his evil plan to everyone that he’s going to lead the giants down the beanstalk and take over the kingdom. Oh yeah, and he has that crown that controls the giants.
Jack breaks Isabelle and Elmont out, they head back down the beanstalk, but Elmont stays to try and stop Roderick. Isabelle and Jack make it down just in time as the beanstalk is being cut down by her father (to avoid letting any giants come down, he was very upset about doing it). At the top, Elmont and Roderick fight, Roderick loses and dies, but Elmont doesn’t get the crown. Jumps on the top of the beanstalk as it falls. The main giant grabs the crown and so he becomes the giant king. They also find the bag of beans that Roderick had taken from Jack – and throws it down releasing new beanstalks – and so down head the giants.
Now comes giant vs people battle. It was pretty cool. People win. Jack saves princess. Jack marries princess.
It was better than expected, but definitely below the normal Bryan Singer standards of a film. Decent acting considering how much they underutilized some great actors, and a plot that kept you engaged even though it was predictable and basic.