Jack the Giant Slayer – Family Adventure with Romance
Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) Film Review
Fate is about to entwine the lives of a simple farm boy and a princess. When he treats her like a treasure to protect instead of the future ruler, Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is done with her father (Ian McShane), and his rules. Or so she thinks. This time she determines to prove her mettle which leads her straight to the home of Jack (Nicholas Hoult).
As children, Isabelle and Jack were told legends of when giants and magic beans dictate a land without security. That is until Isabelle’s ancestor bans the giants to a land where they could no longer be a threat. Years later, Jack has ends up with a satchel full of beans – something he has no idea the value of what he holds.
Isabelle’s plans suddenly go array when the pair become trapped in Jack’s home by a giant stalk bursting through the floorboards. With the princess in danger, Jack sets off to rescue her, fighting unexpected enemies and secrets in the journey to return her to her throne.
Some fairy tales seem to get all the luck. While everyone gushes over princesses and princes, the underrated get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, thanks to ABC’s Once Upon a Time, there’s a fascination with the beloved fables. Fresh spins on them is en-vogue making this the time to embark on an adventure. With little marketing but an impressive cast list, this recent adaptation may have escaped everyone’s notice.
To be honest, the first ten minutes of the movie underwhelm. While I like it fine, a “spark” is missing. Where’s the adventure? The excitement? It may not be the most familiar story in my repertoire but I figured that anything that involves a young man climbing up a beanstalk deserves (or demands) more than the script puts in. It isn’t long after that Isabelle is whisked into the sky and Jack is left with a knock on the head for his troubles. Most of the film unfolds in the “forbidden land” where the giants roam. Even once the adventure starts rolling, the speed doesn’t amp up. Or not as expected.
There is still lots of entertainment value at play, which makes us wonder if Jack will succeed to save a friend or if he’ll smuggle Isabelle out. Even with all these moving pieces, things play conservative. Fortunately Jack’s character is written really well. He starts out as a farmer with no expectations, and he becomes a noble hero. This compels the script to betterment, especially considering it had to splice the story to share part of its principle with a female character, one that originally had no female counterpart.
Perhaps what this movie does best is the humor. It’s fun, and inject this magic in all the right places; some of which is likely spontaneous. The cast also impresses. I think I can safely say Hoult is quickly become one of my favorite silver screen actors. I saw him play “dead” (Warm Bodies), and step comfortably into the role of a beastly superhero (X-Men). Now I enjoy his take on an iconic titular character. Though it’s not as prevalent as a storybook, the romantics between Jack and Isabelle is sweet. I like the actress’ who plays Isabelle; her fragile beauty and acting suit the part. Ewan McGregor and Stanly Tucci also appear.
I do enjoy this movie, but can admit the screenplay gets a little silly sometimes. An example is when Isabelle looks as if she’s spent hours with a makeup brush (after traumatic events) or the few bits of sappy dialogue. Really, I appreciate the movie even in these instances since it never considers itself “epic” nor does it try to pawn itself off in that vein. In fact, really there is a lot of tongue and cheek humor during which the script pokes fun at itself. There’s an adorable end (up until it goes contemporary on us – don’t ruin a good thing, writers!) and impresses when it wisely steers away from political disaster. Like any good fairy tale, alls well that ends well even minus the few story squabbles.
In short, this is a delightful little adventure.