Jack the Giant Slayer
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney
Based on: the fairy tale
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan, Warwick Davis, Bill Nighy
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) has always dreamed of giants, but his life is stuck more in reality. That is until he stumbles upon Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) and her knight protector (Ewan McGregor) at a play and saves her, then trades in his horse for a few magic beans and then Isabelle – who has been promised to the shady Roderick (Stanley Tucci) – shows up alone on his doorstep, looking for adventure. And suddenly Jack finds himself with his hands more than full, a magic beanstalk leading to the giants’ country in his garden and a mission to save the princess.
Jack the Giant Slayer is a movie of almosts. It is almost smart in the way it adapts the tale. Isabelle is almost an actual character. Nicholas Hoult almost actually acts. Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci are almost enough to make this movie worthwhile. But in the end, it just falls short of everything.
[Slightly spoiler-y, I guess.]
Maybe I would have been a little more positive in general about the movie if I hadn’t seen it right after The Croods. But since that was the case, I just couldn’t bear the second story about an overprotective father who would rather trust his little girl to any random stranger than trust in her own abilities to keep herself safe.
But even if the cumulative effect with The Croods hadn’t been there, I doubt that I would have watched this movie full of joy. Isabelle was a flat, dated character in any case (and Eleanor Tomlinson didn’t make her memorable, either). Jack, too, was a stereotype from back to front and Nicholas Hoult just doesn’t have the acting prowess to make that work.
And the scritp itself… okay, so you want to name your giants Fee, Fye, Foe, Fumm. Alright, actually a pretty cool idea. But wait, why aren’t they actually important giants? So you want to have Stanley Tucci’s heir in the story and you actually find somebody who looks like a clone (creepily so) – how come Roderick having kids is never mentioned before, you know, he’s killed? So, you got the crown to rule the giants – why does Jack get to wear it and not, say, the princess? I hear that having royal blood is pretty important in a monarchy. Etc, etc, etc…
At least there was Ewan McGregor. And Eddie Marsan. And Stanley Tucci. And Ian McShane. Who had fun with the whole thing, at least, even when it was at its silliest (and boy, does it ever get silly). But that’s just enough to make the film bearable, not to make it any good.
Summarising: You can skip it and not feel too bad about it.
Another almost: the movie almost but not quite copies the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Exactly. I don’t pay that much attention to soundtracks, but that was absolutely irritating.