JACK THE GIANT SLAYER: A Review

“Jack the Giant Slayer” tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend-and gets the chance to become a legend himself.

 

Jack the Giant Slayer - Nicholas Hoult
Jack the Giant Slayer – Nicholas Hoult

I remember being a 12yr old boy, my favourite TV shows were Buck Rogers, Battlestar Gallactica and Star Trek. My favourite films of the time were the Star Wars films, Beastmaster, Krull – god I miss those times. But this film tore the inner child out of me to kit up and join the adventure. I LOVED this film, or more so, my inner child did. The film is mashing of Jack and the Beanstalk and David and Goliath. Mostly it is made brilliantly.

It is visually spectacular with superb acting, edge of your seat pacing, never a moment of boredom but is let down by the misuse of certain actors and quite possibly the worst script I have heard. It also is undecided, is this an adult’s film or a child’s film? If you settle on family film, I hope you have a big family of boys 

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

The film is high class action and as a boy (on the inside) I wanted to climb that beanstalk and slay some evil monsters, I wanted to be Jack’s best mate and help him get the princess, or help him understand he would be better off with me  It was a genius storyline to make. I cannot remember seeing a decent Jack and the Beanstalk story. There are quite a few similarities to David and Goliath, one of them that I can mention is the reference of having a giant use a slingshot this time. But it is a basic premise from Jack and the Beanstalk. There is no mother in this story, Jack lives with his uncle, there is an ass instead of a cow, there is no golden egg laying duck but there is a magical harp if I can remember correctly. In the original story it sounds all cool and Jack is awesome but the original story is really Jack being a bad child, a thief and a murderer of someone who is different. Basically Jack and his mother are assholes. In this story Jack is much likable and is right in everything he does to protect his queen.

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

The film has some of the most spectacular CGI onscreen, the giants and the beanstalk are just amazing, you need to watch this on the biggest screen possible and you have to see it in 3D, it makes a huge difference. Bryan Singer is awesome – I love most of his films. XMen 1 and 2 and the latest one coming. Usual Suspects (maybe his best film) as he also did Apt Pupil, a film I love. Valkyrie and Superman Returns, and I will admit and be proud of it – I loved Superman Returns – I thought Brandon Routh was a brilliant Superman!! From this you know that Singer can do action and he can do CGI and he does CGI well, so well in fact that in this film I think he makes it so visually stunning and all his efforts went into achieving this but he did it without reading the actual script.

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

Firstly, Ewan McGregor looks smashingly camp in his brilliant costume. He looks hot but incredibly camp but the character never played to it. The costume was too much for the character or the character was not enough for the art design and the costume. It was a hugely missed opportunity. Then there is Stanley Tucci, another character who is so amazing at over the top camp and again it is underplayed. But I did hear that Tucci loathes CGI and acting in a green screen and I think it is evident here, his all is not in it which is a rare thing to see. And finally, Ian McShane as the King, he just sits around being boring, my god – what a HUGE waste of dark acting talent. Every time I see him onscreen I want Al Swearengen, one of the best and evil, highest ranking swearers on TV, if there ever was, care of Deadwood.

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

That being said the film does star Nicholas Hoult, I love him, eyebrows and all. The little kid has grown up and lost his puppy fat from “About a Boy”. He earned his stripes as the wealthier, gorgeous, little overly horny teen smart ass in “Skins” and got his blue on for the last XMen film and is hitting the big screen big time this year with this film and also the upcoming and acclaimed zombie comedy romance, “Warm Bodies”. The guy looks amazing onscreen and is so enthusiastic and believable he is a pleasure to watch. I did notice that his biggest feature, his Vulcan-like eyebrows may have had a wee trimming 

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

Eleanor Tomlinson was a good love interest and Princess to Hoult’s Jack. She was a strong female lead and will be loved by any younger girls who may be with you when seeing this film. She is pretty much the ONLY female presence in the film and this is what makes the film a heavily slanted film towards the younger male side of the viewing audience. Tomlinson was been in The Illusionist and Alice and Wonderland. She truly holds her own against the men in this film.

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

Finally , the script. I literally slap my forehead and shake my fist at this missed opportunity. Surely a simple rewrite to make the lines less dumb would have saved the day from a critical back hander from critics the world over. There are moments when there is to be a comical one-liner and there is a two or three word “humorous” comment made that gets my stamp of “epic fail”. A few of them from McGregor, a few of them from Hoult and then you start to see the holes in the script and the lack of any care given to it. It does not ruin the story or the joy or the action but it is like your favourite child dissapoints you and you are a bit sad with them after that. Dear Singer, you oversaw a script as amazing as Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. Surely you could have given this film a script as worthy and made a film for the whole family that could sweep a top 10 film for the year!! Regards Salty.

 

Bryan Singer, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

 

Script aside and the fact it is a little too adult for younger kids and a little to young for adults who have lost their inner child this film is awesome. I loved it. It is a great adventure film and if I was 10 this would be the best film of the year for me and I would make my parents buy it on Blu Ray and would watch it over and over until the tape wore out. Oh shit hang on – that was Betamax with Krull  Jack The Giant Slayer is out today and if you ignore the script and enjoy the adventure you will love it. I give it 8 out of 10 magical beans.