Opening this weekend is Jack the Giant Slayer from director Bryan Singer of X-Men and The Usual Suspects fame. It stars Nicholas Hoult (most recently in Warm Bodies), Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor of the Star Wars prequels. The film’s official synopsis:
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.
The movie so far has mixed reviews and seems to be split down the middle (although all seem to make a Fe Fi Fo Fum reference). I can see why it’s mixed because I liked the movie overall, but there was a lot I didn’t like. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% sold on CGI effects and 100% digital movies. A lot of it looks way too fake to me, but then again, we are talking about a movie based on a kid’s story. Bill Nighy is supposedly in this movie just don’t expect it to look like him.
Some of the film is a bit too violent for the wee ones. It’s fine for the 8 and over crowd, but I don’t recommend bringing any 3 to 5 year olds. It’s more comic book violence than blood and gore, but the giants do eat some people although you never actually see that. It’s also close to 2 hours long so your kids might struggle to sit through it.
But like I said, I overall liked it. I’m a big fan of Ewan McGregor and this role reminded me a bit of Obi-Wan Kenobi especially his scenes with Nicholas Hoult. Hoult is starting to turn himself into an A-lister with a good performance in Warm Bodies and now a leading role in this CGI big budgeted film. Not bad for the boy from About a Boy.
I wasn’t familiar with Eleanor Tomlinson, but I expect to see a lot more of her after this. Plus the film has great supporting characters with Tucci and McShane. So the film does have great actors going for it and a relatively easy to follow storyline yet I still didn’t love it.
I think the problem is that it didn’t feel big enough to be the type of blockbuster it wants to be. It struggled to walk the line of kid’s movie and CGI epic and that’s probably the reason it’s opening now and not in the summer (where it would get slaughtered). I think some of the audience will like it, but it will definitely not be the movie everyone is hoping it is.
There isn’t a lot at the theater for families right now so maybe that might help Jack the Giant Slayer. If that doesn’t help, we might have our first real bomb of 2013. Other movies have come and gone (Schwarzenegger and Stallone I’m looking at you), but this has a good size budget that might take an international market to recoup it.