Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremmer, Ian McShane, Christopher Fairbank, Simon Lowe, Mingus Johnson, Ralph Brown, Bill Nighy, John Kassir, Ben Daniels, and more.
Directed by: Bryan Singer Screenplay by: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dan Studney Story by: Darren Lemke and David Dobkin Cinematography by: Newton Thomas Sigel Original Music by: John Ottman
Premise: Jack and Isabel, though from very different worlds, grew up hearing the same stories about the giants living between the earth and heaven. Both want nothing more than to have an adventure of their own. Fate draws them together and between a rainy night and some stolen magical beans, the two of them find themselves in the midst of more adventure than they can handle. And they’ve yet to find out about the dark plot being woven around them. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting – Thumbs Up: Nicholas Hoult makes the act of slaying giants look easy. Eleanor Tomlinson was adorable, especially at the beginning, when she’s trying to find out from Jack about the motives for his actions when they first met, while still trying to hide who she is from him. Ewan McGregor had several good lines, and looked quite dashing in his armor. He did several silent looks which spoke volumes, and delivered several delightful lines. Wish he’d had more! Stanley Tucci was perfect as the oily Roderick. Bill Nighy and John Kassir were fun as the two headed giant.
2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: The movie is totally worth seeing for the beanstalks alone! Watching the thing grow at a magical rate and seeing it burrows everywhere was utterly fascinating. The effect when they cut it down was both realistic and unexpected. It might very well have done more harm than the giants.
The giants themselves were varied in how they looked and acted and moved well. Their gross manners, bedraggled appearance, and lack of hygiene, however, clashed with the gift of their incredible sense of smell. As badly as these fellows looked, they wouldn’t have been able to smell much of anything other than themselves.
The final battle sequence was outstanding. I loved how the giants took one of the defensing measures created by the humans at the castle and figured out how to turn it to their advantage. Sadly, however, the definite intelligence shown in combat again clashed with their lack of skills in making clothes or armor.
3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: While the main plot and its resolution won’t be a surprise to anyone, there were still many pleasant surprises in the plot. Setbacks and progress were parceled to all parties, and a number of things didn’t follow the expected route.
There are also a lot of subtle bits woven into the story. Some were jokes, like having Elmont make an Obi-wan type comment. While others were silent, or implied, and you have to pay attention to catch them. My favorite was when Roderick and the giants made it to the waterfall. Watch the General’s heads.
Another fun thing about the story were the circular elements. There’s a ying and yang quality at the very beginning as we glimpse the different yet similar lives of Jack and Isabel as children. Another has to do with specific dialogue being said more than once by different people. The final circle happens at the end, when we get to hear the story of the giants as it changes through time and how Jack safeguarded the one thing that could help mankind if the giants somehow returned yet again. (Pay special attention to the boy at the very end. He should look familiar.)
4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Some stunts were CGI, others were real, and yet others were a mix of the two. Regardless of which kind it turned out to be, the ‘gags’ were all done very well.
5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: A mixture of CGI and real locations, they fit perfectly. The view from the beanstalk as the sun comes up over the clouds will take your breath away. The same can be said of several of the sweeping views of the giants’ domain. There was a lot in the film to satisfy the eyes.
6) Costuming/Makeup – Thumbs Up: The costuming department had a lot of fun with this film. There were subtle jokes about clothing in several places. The human general was one – strangely looking like a spruced up version of the magistrate in the original “Frankenstein” film. The king’s cloak was another joke and actually played a part later in the film. The Princess though did suffer ‘perfect hair’ syndrome throughout despite all their troubles.
Conclusion: “Jack the Giant Slayer” is a fun and more complex retelling of the classic fairy tale. It was filled with lots of gorgeous vistas and giant action. Definitely worth seeing in IMAX 3D.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again.)