Jack the Giant Slayer – Family Adventure with Romance

June 27, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) Film Review

Whether or not it’s clever, anything that smacks of “fairy tale” means this moviegoer is sure to see it. Whether or not Jack the Giant Slayer is clever entertainment doesn’t seem to matter in the end. A meet-cute and happy-ever-after is all I need.

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.

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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.


Jack the Giant Slayer

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.

(Parental concerns: there’s some “gory” violence with the giants though nothing too awful. Giants consume humans (briefly the camera shows a body hanging out of a mouth) as are animals, and one man is nearly baked; there is some crude humor. Profanity may be in the script a time or two, nothing horrible. The film is PG13.)


  • Ruth A.

    June 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I liked Nicholas Hoult here, but until I saw Man of Steel I thought this movie was the biggest mess of 2013. ;)

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:02 am

      LOL! Bet 'Jack' is glad to have shed that distinction. ;)

      Do you think you'd ever watch this one again, Ruth? I think a second viewing will improve my opinion since I'll know what to expect. Much like Mirror Mirror, I found 'Jack' a fun bit of entertainment.

  • Sierra

    June 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    That does sound like a great cast :) My friend saw and said it was pretty good. Based on her thoughts and your review I'll have to get this one into my dvd player pretty soon :D Thank you!

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:04 am

      I know, right!? That cast list continually impressed me – I didn't even realize who some of them were until the credits at the end and of course then I was like, duh!.

      Hope you enjoy if/when you get a copy, Sierra. It was fun!

  • Ella

    June 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I'm a sucker for fairytale movies so I am planning to watch this.
    You said in the review you thought it was silly sometimes. Is it less silly than say ,Mirror , Mirror?

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:06 am

      As am I, Ella! Can never resist a new fairy-tale even if it is a bit silly. What's great about 'Jack' is it knew it wasn't "epic" and didn't care. The humor poked fun at things and I liked that.

      …hmm, less silly than Mirror Mirror…? I think so. There were more "serious" moments, I suppose.

  • Kellie

    June 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Fairy-tale? Same here, haha. :)

    Been wanting to see this one, I should get on that soon. :)

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:07 am

      Happy fairy-tale journeying, Kellie! If you see it, as always I'd enjoy your impression of the film. I thought it was fun and enjoyed that it never took itself too seriously. :)

  • Hannah Elise

    June 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Sounds interesting, and I kind of want to watch it now! And Ewan McGregor … aw :) I've loved him ever since I saw him in Star Wars.

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:09 am

      It was a whole lot of fun, Hannah! Happy watching if you do check it out.

      I've only seen Ewan in one or two things but he was WAY fun in this. He even gets his "moments" to prove loyalty and heroism even though he's not the hero. :)

  • Evelyn

    June 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I'm normally not to interested in fairy tale movies (well, I love EverAfter), I'm not exactly sure why.. but this one sounds sorta interesting. Even if it may be a little cheesy. =)

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Ooo! I am a sucker for Ever After. It's definitely one of those "keeper" movies.

      We all enjoy something different, Evelyn – and thank goodness for that! It makes life interesting. :) If you do watch 'Jack,' I sure hope you get some laughs out of the experience.

  • Bluerose

    June 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I can't keep myself away from fairy tale movies, so I'll have to watch this one no matter what! :)

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:12 am

      *high five*

      Neither can I, Bluerose. Bet you and I could share a TON we both liked. :)

  • Charity

    June 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    The trailers made this film look terrible, but I really enjoyed it. My only complaint is near the end — as a girl who loves girl-power endings, I wanted to see the heroine don the crown and control the giants, not Jack. He'd already proven himself a hero — let her have that moment.

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:16 am

      Prior to seeing this movie, I think I saw its first trailer preceding Warm Bodies which of course, I watched only a week or so prior to 'Jack.' That particular trailer made me laugh and go, "ooh! I want to see this!"


      See… I liked that Isabelle didn't don the crown. Maybe it was because I expected her too and it was a surprise to see Jack holding it…

      Small as it was, that took me by surprise.


      Either way, the movie was really fun! :)

  • Jack

    June 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I've wanted to see this since hearing about it before it came to theatres. I still haven't 8-P I plan to rent it as soon as possible, though I am under orders to rent The Eagle first.

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 3:19 am

      Well, we don't want to challenge those orders! ;)

      When you do finally get to see 'Jack,' I wish you happy watching! It's fun even with the flaws. I like to say, what movie is perfect? None! Each just vary in their degree of disappointments and for a Friday night movie, I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

  • Kara

    June 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I'd read before that it's not a perfect movie. But it sounds pretty fun nonetheless! I've enjoyed several lesser known and perhaps unpopular films over the years. So I'm hoping the day will come quickly that I get my chance to watch this. :)

    1. Rissi

      June 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      It is, Kara! Who needs perfect anyway, right!? ;)

      Definitely one that I'll likely own someday. Like you, I enjoy discovering the "lesser-known" movies also. It's more fun that way.

  • Rosie Wilson

    June 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    This one is one my family wants to see, we just haven't gotten it yet. Lol! Glad your review is mostly positive! :)

    1. Rissi

      July 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      It was fun, Rosie! I think your family would enjoy it – my mom LOVED it. Definitely plan to enjoy re-watches. :)

      Let me know what you all thought of it.

  • Tory

    July 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Overall I liked this one… It did lack something, but if you can overlook that you will be able to enjoy what it does have… Oh, and I totally loved the contemporary ending!!! lol ;)

    1. Rissi

      July 3, 2013 at 1:23 am

      Being honest, I probably shouldn't say that the last scene "ruins" the film, Tory but… the fairytale happily-ever-after girl in me liked the scene of Jack with his family – and that was enough. I didn't *need* a tacked on scene. Either way, it was fun even in the flaws. :)

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