Jack the Giant Slayer is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film based on the English fairy tales “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The film is directed by Bryan Singer, other-wise known for directing the only well received X-Men movies, and The Usual Suspects. The screenplay was written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dan Studney.
The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor.
I can’t really say that I was especially interested in seeing this film. Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland Snow White and the Huntsman, and this film both looked to be cut from the same clothe. In the sense that they succeed at taking all the charm away from their counterparts. Nevertheless, Alice made a billion and Maleficent made nearly eight-hundred million so there is about a million-and-one more where that came from.
Of course, this and Snow White weren’t produced by Disney so it should seem like an apples to oranges comparison, but surprisingly, it doesn’t. All the same, it does have a capable cast with names like Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor. One of them I recently enjoyed in theaters for Warm Bodies, whereas the other, Ewan is in my good graces for Trainspotting.
This film received mixed reviews from critics, and was a box-office flop, failing to recoup its very large budget.
As you might expect, the film follows the basic premise of the classic myths, albeit with a couple selective modifications and creative liberties. Jack is an everyday farm-boy looking to sell one of his horses, and that is when a man of the clothe springs before him, on the run, the monk tells him to take some magic beans as collateral until he can find the money to pay for the horse. Jack gingerly accepts, meanwhile, he later comes in contact with Princess Isabelle who is out from the castle looking for adventure. The beans become wet, and a beanstalk grows leading up to the giants. This is more or less, the story of Jack the Giant Slayer.
It doesn’t divert too much from the source material, or at the very least, the moment that it does divert aren’t bad. They don’t do anything too unceremoniously out of place, and there are actually one or two flashes of inspiration. Unfortunately, the first criticism that I have is the cast. As I already decreed, (ha!) the cast is swell and well with various known names. Unfortunately, uninspired actors, famous or not, almost always amount to very little. They don’t have very much to work with and oftentimes I felt like the film was expecting me to feel things that I simply wasn’t.
I never really had a feel for any of the characters. It isn’t even the casting, but rather the emphasis on their development seemed criminally scarce and badly done. Everything feels one-dimensional with the characters, as if this film had no intent of artistic merit other than achieving a dazzling enough scenery to do well at the box-office.
Speaking of scenery, that comes to the biggest criticism that I have about this film. While it has become customary to at the very least appreciate the visual presentations of high-budget films, this one feels overly bloated. It looks excessive and it looks bad. Overwhelmed would be an accurate word to describe how the digital editing came across in this film, as well as disproportionate.
Include all of this with a run-time of nearly two-hours and I can honestly say that this film felt more as a chore than it did for pleasure.
In conclusion, Jack the Giant Slayer is an uninspired film. Bland characters contributed by actors that don’t have their hearts into it the way they have with previous efforts, and bad digital effects riddle this film. I can honestly say that in the recent heap of story-book adaptations that we have seen lately. I have enjoyed this one least of all, even less than Snow White and the Huntsman. (and Maleficent, … and Alice in Wonderland.)
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