Movie Review: Jack Slays ‘em

March 4th, 2013 at 5:34 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

Click here to watch the trailer for Jack the Giant Slayer.

Now in theaters across Hampton Roads….

Jack the Giant Slayer movie poster (Jack not seen here, because I like the poster with Ewan McGregor more.)

We’ve all heard the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, but this time it gets a fairy tale face lift with this screenplay that has a heart and a fierce taste of vengeance and humor.

As the story opens we get the tale of giants leaving above earth making thunder and lightening from two different childhood bedrooms.  A poor farmer father telling the story for the zillionth time to young Jack; and the Queen retelling the tale to the very young Princess Isabella.  Both youngsters are a bit obsessed with the story.

Fast forward about ten years and we see that Jack (Nicholas Hoult) and the Princess (Isabella Tomlinson) were destined to meet and live the story into a new chapter.  One thing leads to another and the Princess finds herself in the farmhouse stuck in the beanstalk on the edge of High-up Giantland with Jack and many of the King’s men in tow up the beanstalk to rescue her… Men including Roderick (Stanley Tucci) to whom the Princess is betrothed (much to her dismay).

The Giants can smell the humans and that poses a bit of a problem.  After lots of bad habits on display, disgusting type Giant stuff, peppered with the battling of giants, and pigs-in-a-blanket making (I’m sure you saw that in the trailer), we learn that Roderick was keeping a little secret.

He has a crown in hand that causes the Giants to bow down to him… The crown of a one-time Giant Slayer.  He is now King of the Giants. And no one knows his plan to lead them on earth to rule the land… (Because marrying the princess and living the sweet life weren’t enough.)

Isabelle is rescued and safely down the beanstalk thanks largely to Jack… It seems like a happy ending as Isabella (resigned to marry Rodick) rides with him and her father the King back to the castle…. But, there is a battle yet to be had!  The crown rolls away, and it is game on at the castle.  Lead by the King (Ian McShane) and his right hand knight (Ewan McGregor — whom I love) there are flaming trees thrown and an epic tug of war on the castle door.  It’s some really serious battling.

Jack the Giant Slayer is a Warner Bros. film directed by Bryan Singer of Xmen fame and Written by Darren Lemke (Shrek Ever After), Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Dan Studney (TV credits only).   The story is fairly well-crafted and entertaining and the directing has its moments.

The film is packed with action and for those taking the 3D plunge into your wallets, plenty of opportunities to duck in the theater.  For me, it’s a little disappointing that the Princess gets herself into trouble and waits for rescue.  It’s 2013 people… Let her pick a lock, shoot a giant, do something!

And then the giants.  Some are believable, others don’t make the mark.  The films release date was pushed back reportedly for the CG artists.  I kinda felt at times they could have pushed it back even more for some fine tuning.   I just suspended belief, and I was okay.

Stanley Tucci is just so spot on.  His moments of humor are excellent – he has the best lines in the film, far and away.  Hoult does a great job of propelling the story.  Nice to see him alive again after his recent turn as a zombie in Warm Bodies.  Oh, and Ewan McGregor is still handsome!

For parents – Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 for a reason.  The giants are a little scary and some frightening images.  There are also some intense fighting scenes as well as some language to be aware of… Use your judgement.  My nearly 9-year old really liked it but did have some lingering scary moments at night for a few days.

Three out of Five Cookies.


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