Director Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer delivers its audience an action-packed rendition of the popular fairy tale, Jack and The Beanstalk. In light of growing up with this fairy tale, one could never imagine it to be as bold and outrageously portrayed on the big screen. The use of highly detailed CGI and fast-paced camera angles makes for an intense experience, especially in 3-D.
Nicholas Hoult, who plays the main character Jack, is shown as an easy-going farmhand commoner. Unlike in the original story, Jack happens to be quite intelligent in the film. Jack’s uncle has tasked him with selling their horse and carriage, which is to be taken to the center of Albion. Since childhood, Jack has sought after adventure in his life, so such a simple task isn’t complete without him going off task.
Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays Princess Isabelle, is shown enjoying a play disguised as a commoner, and that is when Jack first locks eyes with her. It could be called love at first sight. He defends her honor during a scuffle, where he meets King Brahmwell’s men. Jack however, is demanded he kneel before them. Isabelle, feeling sorry, can’t look at him.
Jack starts to head back when he notices that his carriage is missing. Desperately asking around, he runs into a monk looking for a quick getaway. It was the monk who granted Jack this adventure by handing him the bag of magic beans considered to be a sacred relic. Of course, he tells Jack not to get the beans wet.
Actor Stanley Tucci, who plays Lord Roderick, and his right hand man, Wicke, played by Ewen Bremner, discover that the beans were stolen and notify the people of Albion. The monk takes Jack’s horse and attempts a getaway. Jack leaves to go back to his farmland. At night, while Jack is getting ready for bed, Isabelle shows up at his house to thank him for saving her. A prior argument with his uncle has caused a bean to roll underneath the floorboard of the house, and it just so happens that it is raining outside.
The real story begins when Jack’s house is overcome by the monstrous beanstalk that emerges from the ground. His house is lifted up off the ground and cast into the heaven’s leading to Cornwall, the land of the giants. Princess Isabelle is trapped inside the house, and now it is Jack’s time to shine and prove himself worthy.
The development of characters is not a strong point of the film. Each of their intentions, however, was clear and not sporadic. Nothing was confusing, and it seemed to work smoothly.
Those looking for a grim type of fairy tale may be quite disappointed with the content, though. The film went for a family-friendly direction, and the characters aren’t always serious, with times of light-heartedness and humor. Even the giants, as intimidating as they can be, appear silly, slow and downright stupid. It makes for a good chuckle, though.
Jack the Giant Slayer did it right when it comes to an even balance of story, action, drama and comedy. No scene overwhelmed, and the combination of love and battle shouldn’t bore the diehard action fan. A little romance also doesn’t hurt at times.
If you’re a fan of the fairy tale and would like to see it told differently than the traditional, this is the film to see. With the beautiful scenery of Albion, the vast steepness of the beanstalk and the gut-wrenching atmosphere of Cornwall, it’s certain to keep your attention. If you’re someone who likes their films loud, Jack the Giant Slayer doesn’t fall short either. At times you feel like you’re shaking in your seat while the giants tread.
Fee, fi, foe, fum! I give this film two thumbs! While it may not be the best film of 2013, it definitely kept me entertained and involved. Overall, I give it four stars out of five.