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Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

Feb. 26, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Jack (Nicholas Hoult), a naive young farmer, ends up with some magical beans- that soon sprout into a beanstalk that leads to a land populated by giants with a taste for human flesh. When his kingdom's princess, Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) ends up in the kingdom of the giants, the amorous Jack volunteers to rescue her. Leading the King's Guard- headed by Elmont (Ewan McGregor) to the giants lair- they must not only contend with the hungry giants, but also the King's power mad adviser, Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), who wants to use the giants to usurp the throne for himself.

REVIEW: For some reason or another, the buzz on JACK THE GIANT SLAYER has been mostly negative. This is surprising, as director Bryan Singer's filmography is particularly strong, as is that of the film's co-screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (lets not forget these two are responsible for THE USUAL SUSPECTS). Most of the blame probably has to go to the underwhelming trailers, which , I can assure readers, don't do the film justice.

The thing is- JACK THE GIANT SLAYER is very light entertainment, and it never tries to be otherwise This is not GAME OF THRONES. It's fantasy on a very broad, family friendly level. Based on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale, GIANT SLAYER is aimed at the same crowd that made the recent CLASH OF THE TITANS remake a hit (although this is much better). The stakes in GIANT SLAYER are low. This is one of those film that you walk into knowing exactly how it's going to play out. It's a ride- no more, no less. And no one can deny Bryan Singer knows how to take an audience on a ride.

Running a lean 115 minutes, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER wastes no time putting the plot in motion, with Jack already on his quest to save the princess within twenty minutes of the film starting. Singer shows an economy in his storytelling here- with all of the characters being presented as either broadly heroic- as in Nicholas Hoult's Jack, or Ewan McGregor's swashbuckling Elmont, or cartoonishly evil- like Stanley Tucci's Roderick. This isn't complicated storytelling, but it doesn't have to be- as long as it's fun.

Luckily, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER is a lot of fun. Hoult- who recently broke out in WARM BODIES, makes an extremely charismatic, likable hero. If you liked him in WARM BODIES, you'll like him here (even if his medieval hoodie is a bit much)- and he has really nice (albeit very chaste) chemistry with the cute-as-a-button Eleanor Tomlinson. McGregor , while taking a backseat to Hoult, is his usual, engaging self as the heroic Elmont- and for his fans worried about him getting short-shifted in favour of of Hoult, I can tell you that he gets the best action scene (although it happens too early in the film- and should have been saved for the climax).

Even better is Stanley Tucci- who chews the scenery as the villainous Roderick. Tucci seems to have gone back to old Errol Flynn swashbucklers for inspiration here, with his hilariously evil villain being the perfect modern day equivalent to Basil Rathbone in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, or Henry Daniell in THE SEA HAWK. He's deliciously bad, and seems to be having a grand old time in an uncharacteristically dastardly part. Of the cast, only Ian McShane seems a bit wasted as the noble old king. McShane's a lot more fun when he's bad.

But how about the giants? Well, they do look cartoonish- just as they did in the trailers. JACK THE GIANT SLAYER is heavily reliant on CGI- maybe to it's detriment, and the giants never look too menacing. If anything, they're mostly played for laughs, which makes them hard to accept as threatening. Still, Bill Nighy does some great voice work as their leader- complete with a second, slower head sitting in his right shoulder.

Whether or not you enjoy JACK THE GIANT SLAYER really depends on what you walk into the film expecting. This is not a gritty, heavy-duty adventure film. Rather, it's light and playful- right down to the adventurous score by John Ottman. To me, it was a whole lot of fun (although like most 3D movies, this is one I probably would have preferred in 2D). Even if the trailers rubbed you the wrong way, give it a shot. It's good fun, and very amusing.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:55PM on 03/15/2013
Thought this was a complete fucking bore! None of the characters are memorable, the whole movie is one big bad looking CGI fest and none of the action was good at all. Sad to see that Bryan Singer's career is going downhill fast. I hope X-Men Days of Future Past ends up well....but I'm worried now.
Thought this was a complete fucking bore! None of the characters are memorable, the whole movie is one big bad looking CGI fest and none of the action was good at all. Sad to see that Bryan Singer's career is going downhill fast. I hope X-Men Days of Future Past ends up well....but I'm worried now.
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9:00AM on 02/27/2013
You can't have a heavy CGI loaded film and then use cheap VFX and expect people to come running into the theaters. If WB and Singer wouldn't have shown the rubbery CGI in the trailers, maybe they could've tricked people into seeing this crap
You can't have a heavy CGI loaded film and then use cheap VFX and expect people to come running into the theaters. If WB and Singer wouldn't have shown the rubbery CGI in the trailers, maybe they could've tricked people into seeing this crap
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1:13AM on 02/27/2013
" This is not a gritty, heavy-duty adventure film. Rather, it's light and playful- right down to the adventurous score by John Ottman."
See, this is the impression I got from it too and I thought it was a really weird choice, because "Jack the Giant Killer" is a well known folk story that's infamous for being super violent and raunchy. So you're talking about taking the title of a bloody story that's hundreds of years old and slapping it on a light, mild adventure movie. Makes no sense.
" This is not a gritty, heavy-duty adventure film. Rather, it's light and playful- right down to the adventurous score by John Ottman."
See, this is the impression I got from it too and I thought it was a really weird choice, because "Jack the Giant Killer" is a well known folk story that's infamous for being super violent and raunchy. So you're talking about taking the title of a bloody story that's hundreds of years old and slapping it on a light, mild adventure movie. Makes no sense.
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7:35PM on 02/26/2013
You can't have a heavy CGI loaded film and then use cheap VFX and expect people to come running into the theaters. If WB and Singer wouldn't have shown the rubbery CGI in the trailers, maybe they could've tricked people into seeing this crap
You can't have a heavy CGI loaded film and then use cheap VFX and expect people to come running into the theaters. If WB and Singer wouldn't have shown the rubbery CGI in the trailers, maybe they could've tricked people into seeing this crap
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+0
1:51PM on 02/26/2013
Sounds like a fun time, might make for a good date movie this weekend.
Sounds like a fun time, might make for a good date movie this weekend.
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12:25PM on 02/26/2013

Still nobody wants to see this

Sorry but all the good reviews in the world won't generate any interest for this one. Big PASS.
Sorry but all the good reviews in the world won't generate any interest for this one. Big PASS.
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+6
11:23AM on 02/26/2013
Sorry, but every time I see the commercial where Jack screams out "Giant!" I'm reminded of an infinitely better movie called "Troll Hunter". In it, there's a scene where Hans, the troll hunter and resident bad-ass, comes busting through the brush and screams out "Troll!!" In fact, the scene in "Jack the Giant Slayer" looks suspiciously just like the scene from "Troll Hunter"...not to mention a lot of the giants look like the trolls (especially the two headed giant).
Sorry, but every time I see the commercial where Jack screams out "Giant!" I'm reminded of an infinitely better movie called "Troll Hunter". In it, there's a scene where Hans, the troll hunter and resident bad-ass, comes busting through the brush and screams out "Troll!!" In fact, the scene in "Jack the Giant Slayer" looks suspiciously just like the scene from "Troll Hunter"...not to mention a lot of the giants look like the trolls (especially the two headed giant).
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11:15AM on 02/26/2013

can't see it

I am surprised to see the film got a positive review, although it just doesn't change my view of the film. I'm sorry, it just looks like just every other [link] movie that's been done before. You got the cute late teens/early 20s hero, the attractive princess (who can handle her own cause she can't be completely useless yet somehow is captured for most of the film), a fan favorite actor playing the interesting 2nd hero (McGregor) and an over the top villain with an army that apparently cannot
I am surprised to see the film got a positive review, although it just doesn't change my view of the film. I'm sorry, it just looks like just every other [link] movie that's been done before. You got the cute late teens/early 20s hero, the attractive princess (who can handle her own cause she can't be completely useless yet somehow is captured for most of the film), a fan favorite actor playing the interesting 2nd hero (McGregor) and an over the top villain with an army that apparently cannot be defeated yet somehow is. Guarantee they make the giant leader sympathetic/likable so his entire race won't be killed off.

There's nothing, just nothing that makes me wanna see this movie. Not the actors, the director, the story, the action, Nothing.
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11:09AM on 02/26/2013
Not that I'll be seeing it, but it's good to know Bryan Singer continues to do good work.
Not that I'll be seeing it, but it's good to know Bryan Singer continues to do good work.
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7:40AM on 02/26/2013
Nice I'm looking forward to it now.
Nice I'm looking forward to it now.
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7:09AM on 02/26/2013
Sounds like fun. I didn't have any interest until they released the final trailer. It sounds like a good escape for 2 hours.
Sounds like fun. I didn't have any interest until they released the final trailer. It sounds like a good escape for 2 hours.
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5:37AM on 02/26/2013

CGI takes away from this film...

The CGI looks horrible. It really takes away from the film when there are great action scenes going on and all you can focus on is how glossy and fake the giants look. I hate to say it but that Jack Black Gulliver's Travels movie had better giant effects than this... This does not bode well for the next xmen movie either. I really hope the Sentinals don't look this bad...
The CGI looks horrible. It really takes away from the film when there are great action scenes going on and all you can focus on is how glossy and fake the giants look. I hate to say it but that Jack Black Gulliver's Travels movie had better giant effects than this... This does not bode well for the next xmen movie either. I really hope the Sentinals don't look this bad...
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+5
2:14AM on 02/26/2013
I've read other reviews saying it's decent, better than expected, but I still have little interest in this. The trailers make it look like one of those ABC film takes on classic literature, like Alice in Wonderland. I'm not terribly surprised, since this is an early March film. Might as well have been another February burn. Sadly, it doesn't seem there is any movie this weekend that excites me.
I've read other reviews saying it's decent, better than expected, but I still have little interest in this. The trailers make it look like one of those ABC film takes on classic literature, like Alice in Wonderland. I'm not terribly surprised, since this is an early March film. Might as well have been another February burn. Sadly, it doesn't seem there is any movie this weekend that excites me.
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1:33AM on 02/26/2013
Glad to see the positive review. Movie looks fun and one that I will be checking out.
Glad to see the positive review. Movie looks fun and one that I will be checking out.
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8:13AM on 02/26/2013
glad about the 7 score. I was gonna watch it on the theatre, but now I have even more desire
glad about the 7 score. I was gonna watch it on the theatre, but now I have even more desire
1:25AM on 02/26/2013
So just out of curiosity I looked up the old review for Clash of the Titans [link] the movie that is stated in the article that Jack is not just better than, but MUCH better than. And sure enough the same reviewer gave it the same studio friendly 7/10. I love the site otherwise, but I can NEVER trust the reviews here... "Last time, last year - not so good. But now, this is the *truth*!" I will not be seeing this as I'm not interested in children's entertainment like so many others, I don't care
So just out of curiosity I looked up the old review for Clash of the Titans [link] the movie that is stated in the article that Jack is not just better than, but MUCH better than. And sure enough the same reviewer gave it the same studio friendly 7/10. I love the site otherwise, but I can NEVER trust the reviews here... "Last time, last year - not so good. But now, this is the *truth*!" I will not be seeing this as I'm not interested in children's entertainment like so many others, I don't care if it's Brian Singer or Robert Rodriguez this stuff isn't for me anymore.
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