Jack the Giant Slayer review

Bryan Singer
Nicholas Hoult
Eleanor Tomlinson
Ewan McGregor
Stanley Tucci
Ian McShane
Rated: PG-13

“Jack the Giant Slayer” is another retelling of classic fairytales, a genre which has picked up steam the last few years.

In this adaption, Jack (Hoult) ends up getting some beans through a series of events.

What’s different in this version is that an evil aid to the King, Roderick (Tucci), wants the beans because they lead to the beanstalk which has access to the giant’s kingdom in the sky. Roderick has a plan to use the giants to take over the kingdom, however, before he can thrust his plan in to motion, Jack gets a hold of the beans.

In the first act, Jack meets the Princess of the castle, Isabelle (Tomlinson). During a chance encounter, the magic beans get activated and the beanstalk grows into the sky. While Jack is left on the ground, Isabelle ends up getting caught in the beanstalk and goes into the sky. To get her back, the King, played by Ian McShane, sends his best knights including one named Elmont (McGregor) and Jack tags along. Roderick also goes along and tries to set his original plan in motion. However the giants turn in the sky prove to be quite dangerous.

This movie is packed with a lot of clichés and generic things in both story-telling and characters. Yet the film still has the execution to make for a fun, family adventure flick.

The film’s three act structure is done well and keeps things exciting. The plot sets up the characters, setting and rules of the world it takes place in, something that’s really necessary in these types of movies. The drawback of course is that there is nothing fresh and it is very predictable.

The same can be said about the characters. Any audience can pretty much guess what these characters will wind up doing. Yet the acting makes for these characters to at least give the characters a lot of likeability. Nicolas Hoult as the lead protagonist does a good job in making a compelling character to root for. This is the second film this year where Hoult has played a protagonist and he seems good in those roles, having enough charisma to shoulder a film.

The adventure aspect of the film is what really helps things move along. It’s all classic stuff and it is done well making for many fun, thrilling moments. For example, the scene where they are climbing the bean stock is made to be very exciting. The special effects were also nice looking.

Overall, “Jack the Giant Slayer” is predictable and not really fresh, but what it lacks there it makes up in being fun. I think the giants could have been a bit better characterized and there’s nothing really enough to make it special, but it’s still good enough to get a 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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