Jack the Giant Slayer Directed by: Bryan Singer Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 1 hr 52 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: March 1, 2013
PLOT: Yes, it's that Jack, the one with a beanstalk. Jack (Hoult) finds himself in the middle of the war between humans and giants. He's trying to save the princess (Tomlinson), while the giants are trying to take over the world.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you like big adventure films, with good looking special effects, this fast-paced film will provide just enough entertainment.
The pieces of this movie puzzle don't exactly fit together, which makes it so odd that I had a pretty good time watching Jack the Giant Slayer. While I never fell in love with Jack, or the object of his affection, Isabelle, there's still enough to like. I never had a pulse on which villain I should care about, but still got some fun out of all of them. This big-screen potential blockbuster does a pretty good job of imitating all of the other big-screen adventures you've seen, that should go over pretty well with audiences.
Yes, there are magic beans. Though our story begins a little bit before that. Jack's mother has died, and his dad will soon follow. No, I'm not spoiling anything. While growing up, Jack hears tales of giants and Erik the Great, who fought them off. Isabelle hears those same stories. Fate eventually brings these two together, who are both desperate for adventure. Right about then is when the magic beans lift them off to a world high above, filled with giants. This land is somehow above the clouds. We just have to accept that. I really enjoyed the showing of destiny, and not the telling. Unfortunately, once Jack and Isabelle are together, there isn't much of a spark. While Hoult has scored two recent leads with this film and Warm Bodies, I'm not ready to give him the keys to the blockbuster castle.
It's not just the giants Fee, Fye, Foe and Fumm that we are dealing with here. Yes, those names are a little on the nose, and those words are uttered many times, but it does fit with the material at hand. Our other villains are Roderick (Tucci), his sidekick Wicke (Ewen Bremner) and the giant General Fallon (Bill Nighy). Roderick is obsessed with power and up to no good, your typical villain who has a few tricks up his sleeve. General Fallon isn't really fully formed, and I'm not just talking about the small extra head on his right shoulder. For a second it seems we might look at the giants and sympathetic creatures, who were overthrown by evil humans. Not the case.
Roles from Eddie Marsan, Ian McShane and even Warwick Davis are nice additions to the cast, but nothing I've said so far would push this movie over the top, into the must see category. That's where Singer comes in. The man knows how to make a generic epic adventure film. That's exactly what he does here. While my heart never swooned, and I never felt truly nervous, the look and pace of the film are great. There are a few surprises, like a couple of key characters dying during the process. I like the basic humor sprinkled throughout the film. Plus, while the special effects are really good, one moment was dazzling. Giants chase people on horseback, and eventually throw things. That's all you need to know.
There aren't many perfect moments in Jack the Giant Slayer, but there isn't anything awful. We've seen the mistakes an updated fairy tale can have (Hansel and Gretel). That's not the case here. This film has everything you want out of an epic adventure, even though you've seem almost all of it before.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10