Jack The Giant Slayer

24 Mar

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Synopsis: “The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.” (Rated PG-13; 1 hour, 54 minutes)

So. Much. Fun.

I feel like I’m repeating myself when I say that you shouldn’t believe everything critics tell you, since this morning I posted my review for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and focused on that very message. The same thing absolutely applies to Jack The Giant Slayer, in fact even more-so.

I have NO idea what the problem is that critics are having with this movie. It is a grand, wondrous spectacle that entertained Elana and myself from the opening scene until the last image. Think I’m simply too easy on big budget adventure movies? Okay, that’s fair. I do enjoy just about all of them. Allow me tell you about my friend Elana who joined me for this fairy tale adventure: She is an unbelievably intelligent English teacher, who will read about a hundred books each year but only see one or two movies. One genre that she happens to love are fairy tales, with the hopes that they will be authentically portrayed. This does not mean that creative liberties cannot be taken to be clear. To her it means that the costumes are authentic, the dialogue at least attempts to avoid modern slang, and most of all that it is far removed from the usual rude, crude and constantly winking-at-the-audience style that most adventures are portrayed with these days. To give an easy example, take the story of Hansel & Gretel. In the old days, if it had been made into a movie, it would have simply been a straight forward telling of the children’s dark fairy tale. These days it is quite typical instead for the movie to be made into Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which I enjoyed watching earlier this year but as you can read in my review, I was laughing AT the movie as much as WITH it. As such, Elana told me she would not have enjoyed that movie whatsoever, as it was full of modern warfare and vulgar cursing, and lost all of the pure, childlike (and often dark) wonder that spawned these fairy tales in the first place.

I am very happy to report that both Elana and myself had a great time watching this wondrous fairy tale, which lacked any need to dumb things down for a modern audience, and felt like a good old-fashioned adventure. The giants were large, grotesque and well-made special effects, each with extremely detailed and distinctive looks and personalities. It didn’t hurt that Bill Nighy voiced the main giant, since he is always such a great talent. And I will admit, the feeling I got when the characters first finished their climb up the beanstalk, and entered the land of the giants…it reminded me of the grand entrance to Jurassic Park, like I’d been transported to a vast magical universe and already knew I would enjoy the ride.

Stanley Tucci does a fun job playing the usual eeeeevil villain, and he hams it up quite well. Ian McShane plays a small role as the king with a nice amount of honor and respectability. (As great as he was in Deadwood, he’s highly capable of acting well, even when not saying that one notoriously unprintable word from the show!) Ewan McGregor is generally good in his dramatic roles, but really gets to have a good time in this movie, playing a light-hearted, swashbuckling hero. Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays the part as Jack’s princess love-interest, was previously best known as a young Jessica Biel in The Illusionist. And finally Jack was played by Nicholas Hoult, who has managed to go from being the child in the awesome movie About A Boy, to years of obscurity thereafter; and then this year he suddenly starred in not only Jack And The Giant Slayer, but also the really creative zombie movie I have already reviewed earlier this year, Warm Bodies. Both are movies I really enjoyed, so this looks like a pretty good comeback to me!

Bryan Singer does a great job directing the fun, and he should know what he’s doing. After all, this is the same man who made the first two entertaining X-Men movies as well as the super-cool movie The Usual Suspects – not too shabby. Though the last movie he directed was in 2008 (Valkyrie), so I’m glad to see him back making movies again.

I do want to clear up some confusion that I had, and I expect many others may have as well: Jack And The Giant Slayer is NOT the same fairy tale as Jack And The Beanstalk. Well not exactly…there have been different versions of Jack And The Beanstalk printed over the years, with the most popular one having been written by Joseph Jacobs. But there is a DIFFERENT story called Jack The Giant Killer which was written a full century earlier in the 1700’s. The history seems vague, but if you’re interested in reading more, you can link between the different stories here, and read up on it.

At the end of the day, I had so much fun watching this movie, and if a big, lighthearted epic fairy tale adventure sounds like fun to you, you’ll have a great time watching this one.

The movie was better than Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which I enjoyed as a comedy more than as an adventurous fairy tale. It wasn’t as great as Hook, a fairy tale that continued the Peter Pan story that for some reason was also snubbed by loads of critics, but was such an incredibly fun and magical movie that so many of us still love.

Quality Rating: A- (The movie looked and felt great to watch, and although the writing was not particularly memorable, they created an entire rhyming bedtime story about the giants within the movie, which  book-ended the movie perfectly)

Boaz Rating: A

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14 Responses to “Jack The Giant Slayer”

  1. zralston March 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    You apparently missed Hoult’s actual comeback, which was in 2009’s A SINGLE MAN (my favorite film of the last 5 years).

    Like

    • Orit Tashman April 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Don’t forget that he is huge with British youth since he was the main character in Skins, which was so big that MTV made a shitty American remake. And that’s probably how he got the role for A Single Man.
      (Hi Boaz!)

      Like

      • boazconstrictor April 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

        Ooh, nice call, I forgot he was in that. I recall reading about it back when it began but admittedly never saw it.
        And hi back at you Orit, I have not one but TWO Tashmans now reading my blog religiously, I love it! 🙂

        Like

    • boazconstrictor April 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Good call, I totally missed that when I saw the movie. And I agree, it was a PHENOMENAL movie, amazing performances and extremely touching.
      Nice catch!

      Like

  2. movierob June 3, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    finally saw this. great movie and great review Boaz. Hope all is well by you, haven’t heard from you in a while

    Like

    • boazconstrictor June 3, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      So glad you got to see it and enjoyed it too, wish it was seen more in general, it was considered a big bomb! And yes, I’ve been very busy, behind in all of my reviews, thus is what happens when I start my new job unfortunately!

      Like

      • movierob June 3, 2013 at 7:09 am #

        glad to hear you’re ok. just saddened to hear that your job is affecting ur movie watching 🙂

        Like

      • boazconstrictor June 3, 2013 at 7:12 am #

        Yup, though less my movie-watching and more my movie-reviewing. I can still find the time to see a 2 hour movie, but writing a review that takes me 2-4 hours (with proofreads) is the bigger challenge now.

        Like

      • movierob June 3, 2013 at 7:15 am #

        gotcha.!!

        thats why i do mini reviews 🙂

        I’m almost at 100 after 2 months

        Like

  3. boazconstrictor June 3, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    I know, it’s crazy, you’ll probably do thousands soon enough!

    Like

    • movierob June 3, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      im definately enjoying myself, so i cant complain too much 🙂

      only have 350 views tho. need to find a way to up them 🙂

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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