A modern day fairy tale in which the long-standing peace between men and giants is threatened, as a young farmer leads an expedition into the giants' kingdom in hopes of rescuing a kidnapped princess.
A modern day fairy tale in which the long-standing peace between men and giants is threatened, as a young farmer leads an expedition into the giants' kingdom in hopes of rescuing a kidnapped princess. less
“Jack the Giant Slayer is an entertaining fantasy film which offers what it promises. Good visual effects and an enjoyable story make it a one time watch.”
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Jack the Giant Slayer describes itself as the 3D Hollywood version of two fairy tales rolled into one: Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer. In truth, it is only a heavily tinkered version of Jack and the Beanstalk. The film begins extremely well and extremely poorly. I pointed out the contrast because I loved the opening which shows us two children, who will grow up to be the major characters of the film, listening to the fairytale. This becomes our introduction into the fantasy of the film. It captures the child-like wonder right there. What I didn't like about the opening is the animated visual telling of the tale. It is badly animated but that's not the point. The point is that some things need to be left to our imagination.
Soon, the farm boy and the princess go through the customary meet cute. It does have something cute about it. I was surprised by the clever dialogue despite a standard screenplay. I'm glad big Hollywood types do still care about getting the blueprint right to mount the building. The dialogue is funny and reveals character bit by bit. But let's not spill all the beans and leave some for you to discover. I was happy to find that I did care about the characters. The actors and the script take good care of this.
It's hard to pick anything negative to say about the film. It doesn't pretend to be more than what it is. It's worth checking out if you're into this kind of stuff, but it's not something to marvel at. Oh yes, the 3D is pointless.
The casting is neat. Nicholas Hoult has the adequate amount of likability for a character like this. The princess played by Eleanor Tomlinson has equally cozy warmth. Their characters share a penchant for adventure and make sure we do too by repeating it over and over again. Ewan McGregor stands guard as a supporting cast member during the climb, in case the young ones slip, which they don't. Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane make a strong case for the casting against type formula.
Since fantasy is my favorite genre of film, I expected the film to be less inhibited about itself and become more enjoyable. But if I dig deeper, in truth I only expected it to have more of the Jack the Giant Killer in it, not Jack the Beanstalk. To be even more specific, I was expecting a partial remake of the 1962 film, Jack the Giant Killer, which itself deviated from the fairy tale. The effects were stop-motion animation, not CGI. It aped the style of Ray Harryhausen's films which were one of my childhood treasures (No, I did not know his name when I was a kid. I just saw them.) He was a visual effects supremo and producer who spearheaded a new kind of visual trickery. This was the period between the 50s sci-fi and fantasy films which hid most of the shortcomings of technology under the veil of two colors: black and white. Color was a different thing, you can see everything now. Before George Lucas and Steven Spielberg revolutionized CGI in filmmaking forever in the late 70s, there was Mr. Harryhausen. The effects were not even close to reality, in fact, they were extremely overblown. Surprisingly, something about them worked and no it wasn't my gullibility as a child. I saw Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981) again recently and the former is still one of my favorite films while the latter still remains infinitely better than the god-awful remake.
I'm telling you all of this because there's something to be said about visual effects. It isn't how believable they are, it is how much the filmmaker believes in them and hence, makes you believe in them. Bryan Singer has tried very hard but I could clearly see his heart wasn't exactly vested into the project. I'm slightly worried for X-Men: Days of the Future Past now despite him proving X-Men to be totally his territory. A revisionist fairy tale? I'm not so sure. It's not that Jack the Giant Killer is anywhere near a bad film, it's perfectly enjoyable. It just doesn't have the magic of a fairy tale on film. By magic, I don't mean wizards casting spells but filmmaking magic. The genre of fantasy deserves a fantastical approach, even when it's telling an earnest story. Then again, the film steps into the borders of action film land with the resolution of the story resting on a bombastic battle. The thing to note is that you care about the battle and the fate of the young lovers. Would I recommend this film? Yes, I would. This is an above average fantasy actioner which should is best enjoyed by letting your guards down.