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Jack the Giant Slayer [Blu-ray] [Import]
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Jack the Giant Slayer tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack, into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend... and gets the chance to become a legend himself.
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The giants are based on the legend of the Titans. Our characters are very stock and the dialouge was dry. The princess who is supposed to be some independent fighter speaks poetically and is lifeless...Kristen Stewart could have done better. The giants reminded me of Orcs and at times they were rather disgusting.
I wonder who this film was for? For adults the plot is rather simple. I can't imagine the background of Giants who eat people and drop the F-bomb (two headed giant near the end) as being suitable for children. PG-13 indicates that is the appeal factor: Tweens and young teens who would indeed rate it 5 stars.
This production is riding the coattails of the successful fairy tale productions that preceded it. It doesn't have a good script. It lacks crisp dialouge. It doesn't have the star appeal. It is for the younger generation who only care about the CG effects for which I will give it 3 stars.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
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* Nicholas Hoult ("Warm Bodies") is resourceful and resolute as Jack, the nice young man who drops a magic bean and... "Uh oh," gets it WET. Later, as he clambers up that amazing beanstalk, he admits he "doesn't much like heights."
* Eleanor Tomlinson ("Alice in Wonderland") is Isabel, an adventurous princess who finds waaaay more adventure than she bargained for.
* Ian McShane ("Deadwood") is the king, ready to marry off his daughter to a much older man in order to achieve peace with a neighboring kingdom. But he pitches right in when his kingdom is under attack.
* Stanley Tucci ("The Hunger Games") makes the perfect bridegroom/villain: ambitious, ruthless and cruel. Once he gets the magic crown, the wedding is off!
* Ewan McGregor ("The Impossible") is our stalwart guardsman Elmont: organized, decisive and brave. It looks like McGregor enjoys being in a comedy for a change.
* Bill Nighy ("About Time") is the lead Giant. He has a little spare head sitting on one shoulder, which offers another point of view.
If you take a 12-year-old boy (the perfect demographic) reassure him that there is less than a minute of "mush." Otherwise, it's slam-bang action, with lots of spears, arrows, horses, drawbridges, armor, swords, boiling oil, burning trees and other weapons of the middle ages.
I can't think of a thing I would change; 114 minutes flew by. The battle scenes aren't too long, the giants are appropriately icky, our hero is valiant and the heroine is plucky. We all ducked when a crown bounced into the audience, but beyond that, the story is engaging enough that there should be no need to spring for the extra 3D charge, so a DVD from Amazon will do just fine.
This retelling of old tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is pretty well done, with many key ingredients of fairy tales well in place. There is a brave and ultimately quite clever farm boy (Jack), a cute and quite likeable damsel in distress, a noble king, his brave knights, a vilainous treacherous scoundrel, powerful magic items, a really REALLY BAD giant alpha (and beta) and a whole batallion of other giants, almost as dangerous as their two-headed leader.
Past the first 10 minutes, the film is rather quick paced and visually it is very pleasant: the sky domain of giants, the giant beanstalks and the mighty royal fortress are really impressive. The desperate fight of royal army against the giants besieging the great royal castle is a particularly well done thing - I certainly appreciated that both humans and giants fight in a rather logical way and human army is definitely not a push-over...
The best character in the film and a scene stealer is Elmont, a sarcastic noble knight commanding royal guard, played very VERY convincingly by Ewan McGregor who seizes this occasion to remind the public, that he once played Obi-wan Kenobi and that after all he killed Darth Maul and General Grievous and defeated and mutilated Darth Vader... Frankly, I almost expected Elmont to finally use his light-saber and I was very surprised when he didn't...
Stanley Tucci who plays the main villain Roderick is another scene stealer, with his quasi Monty Pythonesque style - it is clear he had tons of fun playing in this film. Ewan Bremer, who plays his slightly deranged murderous sidekick Wicke, is another delight to watch.
Compared to those three characters and to all the gallery of giants, both Jack and the Princess seem a little pale - this is the reason I give this film only four stars instead of five.
Children younger than 11 can find this film TOO SCARY, as there are numerous scenes when giants EAT PEOPLE - and even if there is no gore and everything happens fast and is shown in some distance, the scenes are explicit enough to leave no doubt that a character had just his head and shoulders ripped of the rest of his body and swallowed by a enormous, ugly, very strong, very fast and very agressive monster.
But bottom line, I liked this film and I spend a good moment watching it - and I think we will buy the DVD when it is available. Although not a masterpiece, this is a nice, easy, visually very impressive film.
Why not! It's a fun movie. Not to mention, it is one of those rare movies that anybody in the family can watch and enjoy. There are some dark moments in the film and some mildly scary moments, but it's all fun. We all know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and now, with today's incredible technology, we can see this fairy tale, mostly imagined up to this point, in vivid 3-D and live action or CG action.
Director Bryan Singer knows a thing or two about bring us fairy tale characters. He's directed two X-Men films and a Superman film. So, telling the story of Jack and his magical beans is right up his alley. We all know the story and Singer managed to keep those same elements in the film. The best part about "Jack the Giant Slayer" is the script; until the ending. Most of the time, these type movies are made just to appease the visual desires of a film-goer, but this film has many surprising twists and turns. Although, it isn't without a little bit of criticism from this reviewer.
The first two-thirds of the film are filled with surprises and quality writing that keeps the audience riveted. When the humans enter the world of the giants, I found the whole experience to be incredibly realized and reminiscent of the movie "King Kong". It was amazing and frightening at the same time, especially when one giant tracks down a running human as if he were catching a mouse and picked him up as if his catch was pretty much insignificant.
My beef comes from the choices made in the final third of the film. They had built up so much possibility with script direction. There was the world of the giants. There was the love story between Jack and Princess Isabelle. There was the massive treasure that the giants had horded overtime from the humans. Yet, I think that they chose the less interesting of directions for the film. Battle; not in the more interesting giant world, but in the human world. The giants are really just mindlessly driven to battle. They have no heart-filled reason to do so, they just want to destroy and steal. We've seen so many battles on film in so many movies and they are always less interesting than a human motivated storyline. There was a reason for battle in "Braveheart". There was a reason for battle in "Glory", "The Lord of the Rings" or "Saving Private Ryan", but the reason for this battle was just boring.
"Jack the Giant Slayer" is a great time at the movies for the whole family, I just wish it had a ending that was as personal and interesting as the rest of the film. Instead, we get an ending that reminded me of Burton's "Alice and Wonderland"; uninteresting CG junk.
Jack the Giant Slayer stars Nicholas Hoult whose star is on the rise. Fresh off of his other starring role as R in Warm Bodies, Hoult functions well as the underestimated, romantic hero. The main story is mostly familiar. Jack is trusted with a task to sell items for money, but he returns home with no money and a handful of "magic beans." The magical properties of the beans are unleashed when they become wet in a rainstorm sending Jack's house, and inadvertently the King's daughter Isabelle, up to a legendary land of giants via a massive beanstalk. King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) organizes a team to rescue his daughter lead by his trusted knight Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and including Jack as well as the plotting Roderick (Stanley Tucci) who the princess has been promised to for marriage.
The giants are truly spectacular. They are easily 20 feet tall and have a very clever form of motivation based on a previous war between man and giant, which resulted in them being magically enslaved by a magic crown. Nonetheless, they are vengeful and dangerous, bringing a real threat of danger and excitement to the story. Furthermore, Singer allows several opportunities for tongue-in-cheek humor to permeate the already clever adventure story that takes place up the beanstalk. Simply put, a strong case is made for Stanley Tucci to have a part in every movie.
The only issue the film has going against it lies in its first act. Singer's film begins a bit slowly with terse voice-over narration of parallel backstories for young Jack and young Isabelle. The children playing these parts deliver excruciatingly clichéd performances, and it was at this point that I admit I was worried.
Consequently, I must pause here to mention that this review comes with a brief stipulation. When it comes to re-making a fairy-tale, there are many pitfalls that can occur; a major one is choosing the right audience. Aside from this tepid opening segment, Bryan Singer actually has made a film that would exist more comfortably in Middle Earth than in Disney World. It embraces its world of man-eating giants and has fun with it. This decision certainly enhances the film's entertainment value, but it also takes a familiar children's tale and puts it just out of reach for children to enjoy. Creating an opening scene so clearly not in congruence with the rest of the film sets the incorrect initial mood that is hard to shake once the movie gets good. However, if you can make the leap, this film definitely functions much better as a romantic action film than as a cute and safe children's tale.
That being said, I liked Jack the Giant Slayer. I also recommend seeing it in 3-D, which is a recommendation I can honestly say I would give to no more than five films. This is a fun, entertaining, funny, and good looking film that is easy to enjoy once the film figures out what it is and who it's aimed at. B