“Jack the Giant Slayer” is the second feature film to star Nichola Hoult in two months. He played R in the zombie romantic comedy “Warm Bodies and has returned to portray Jack in the old fairy tale. Also starring in this movie are Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane, who played Blackbeard in the last installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. In this movie, each man plays a more medieval character. The setting and costuming are spectacular, however, the plot and dialogue fall just short of that.
The story centers around Jack, a poor farmer who sells his horse in exchange for some magic beans he receives from a monk. He accidentally allows the beans to grow, which creates a bridge between Earth and the giant realm. The only problem: the princess (Eleanor Tomlinson), who ran away from the castle, is in his house as it is captured by mammoth vines. Feeling responsible, Jack joins the king's guards as they venture up into the realm of giants in order to save her.
Giants seem to live on a island in the sky, which is never fully explained. Jack goes with Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Crawe (Eddie Marsan) to find Isabelle, the princess. Roderick (Tucci) and his two cronies venture to the other side of the supposed island. It turns out that he has ulterior motives because he has the crown that will control the giants. He plans to use it in order to kill the princess, who is also supposed to be his wife. Things take some unexpected turns and eventually leads the giants down to earth to destroy the kingdom. Jack and Isabelle team up to save everyone.
While it is a visually stunning film, it is lacking in the plot department. There were several obvious plot holes that never seemed to be filled. There are other kingdoms mentioned, but never shown. This would be forgiven if they weren't mentioned to many times. The geography isn't explained so the distances between places change several times. Its hard to find the layout believable since the giants seem to live in clouds. The biggest issue with the film is the enchanted crown. According to the story, it was made by melting down a giant's heart and forging it into a crown, which seems really far fetched, even for a fairy tale. Even then, it changes size without explanation. It fits human heads just fine, but at one point, it is used as a ring on two fingers for a giant. There is no explanation as to how or why this happens, it just accepted as a fact.
Most of the acting was subpar as well, but there is one standout performance that made it all worth it. Ewan McGregor steals the show as the ever optimistic Elmont. He comes off as dashing and swashbuckling. His sense of comedic timing is impeccable and the charisma he demonstrates makes him incredibly likable. While most of the actors come off as stiff or wooden at times, he is the most flexible. Another character who comes off as likable, even though he is a villain, is Stanley Tucci as Roderick. He is just so sinister and over the top that he is almost comedic in his performance. It is a shame that he isn't utilized more because it would have added more depth to an otherwise flat performance.
Towards the end, “Jack” began to feel like a bad parody of “Lord of the Rings”. There are epic shots of the scenery and a huge battle in a castle. And the crown is also melted down towards the end and made into a different crown. Then, the audience is left with the implied notion that there could be a sequel, which there should not be. Everything is basically summed up in the end so anything more would be completely made up and even harder to believe.
There are better things playing in the theaters, but that does not mean “Jack the Giant Slayer” is one that should be skipped. For what its worth, it was cute and had several comedic moments. If anything, it is worth it to see Ewan McGregor's performance.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is rated PG-13 for fantasy violence, some scary images and mild language.