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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Jack the Giant Slayer | Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Bill Nighy, Ian McShane | Review

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4sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD Judy Thorburn

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4lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD

 

Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack The Giant Slayer bears little resemblance to the children's fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, that was read to me as a kid. But that was then and this is now.  We live in age where the old becomes new again at the hands of Hollywood scriptwriters who re-envision, revise, and rework classics for modern day audiences.

Such is the case of Jack and the Beanstalk which has been transformed into Jack The Giant Slayer, yet another among the on growing list of fairy tale remakes the studios hope will ride the wave of popularity from TV's hit series One Upon a Time and Grimm.

Nicholas Hoult (who stars as a zombie in the comedy horror tale, Warm Bodies) plays the titular Jack, an orphan farm boy thrust into an adventure to save a princess and ultimately his land from an army of  giants that enjoy devouring human flesh.

In this version of the popular fairy tale, we are provided with a back story about the origins of the magical seeds, the beanstalk and battle with the giants. While a hen that lays a golden egg and a magical harp have no place in this storyline, we do get to hear  “fee fi fo fum” chanted more than a few times from the mouth of a giant.

Legend has it that four centuries before Jack was born, a group of monks planted some magical seeds in hopes of creating a beanstalk that would grow high into the heavens and reach God. Instead, it arrived at a land populated by evil, man eating giants that made their way down to earth. A war ensued between humans and the giants until heroic King Erik used the heart of a slain giant to make a crown that possessed the power to control them. Once the army of giants were ordered back to their realm, the stalk was cut down and peace was returned, that is, until centuries later when some left over seeds accidentally falls into Jack's hands and all hell breaks loose.

Prior to that occurrence, Princess Isabelle (newcomer, Eleanor Tomlinson)decided to run away from the Kingdom of Cloister, rather than submit to a forthcoming arranged marriage to the King's chief advisor, the much older, sinister Roderick (a perfectly slimy Stanley Tucci in a page boy wig and gapped teeth).  Seeking refuge from the rain, the Princess winds up at  Jack's home. It is during that surprise visit when one of the beans falls under the floorboard of Jack's abode, and he unwittingly unleashes another beanstalk into the sky, with its massive vines exploding through his cottage, carrying Isabelle to the land inhabited by giants, led by the two headed General Fallon (Bill Nighy and John Kassir).


King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) orders his most loyal and trusted knight, Elmont (a charming and courageous, Ewan McGregor) and several of his best guards to rescue his daughter. Of course, Jack, who has developed a romantic interest for the comely Princess, becomes part of the rescue party. But, the mission is soon hampered with the inclusion of power hungry, Roderick joining the hunt, who has his own evil agenda in mind.

Working from a well written script by Darren Lemke, Dan Studney and Christopher McQuarrie, director Bryan Singer (X Men, The Usual Suspects) keeps the action moving at a brisk and steady pace, delivering a spectacular thrill ride enhanced by visually impressive special effects that seamlessly integrates live action with the computer generated giants and their world.  It also helps that the fantasy adventure boasts a solid cast, some humor and a pinch of romance.


The film's tagline is "If you think you know the story-  You don't know Jack!   What I do know is that despite whatever differences there are from the original tale, Jack the Giant Slayer works as an entertaining piece of escapism.  

An added note to parents;  be advised there are several scenes featuring impalements, decapitations, stabbings and humans being eaten that would be too intense and distressful for your little ones.

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