With a release on Mar. 1, “Jack the Giant Slayer” has had more of a ho-hum release rather than a gigantic “fee-fi-fo-fum.” It is acceptable for most audiences, but “Jack” won’t become a legend at the box office.
A retelling of the famed children’s tale, “Jack the Giant Slayer” features Nicholas Hoult as young Jack, a noble young farmer raised on fairy tales of giants in the sky. He meets and attempts to rescue fair Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson). When they meet again, their bond is united more deeply by the same love of adventure and giant stories from their childhoods. When Isabelle is in danger again after a beanstalk grows, Jack volunteers to attempt a rescue with King Brahmwell’s (Ian McShane) guardsmen (Ewan McGregor and Eddie Marsan) and the king’s advisor Roderick (Stanley Tucci). Jack quickly realizes that Roderick has his own plans, so he must help rescue not only Isabelle but her kingdom, too.
As one would expect, “Jack the Giant Slayer” is a family-friendly film that adults and youth can enjoy, since it balances its dark moments with immature humor. Gruesome scenes of murder and giants eating are shown off camera, though their intensity is still clear. The faces of the giants are shown up close in their disgusting and slightly creepy glory, so very young children might be frightened. But their subsequent burps, farts, and booger-picking go too far that most audiences will forget their scariness.
Besides the abundance of immature humor, “Jack the Giant Slayer” has one main problem: though it is promoted as being a revised version of the tale, there is nothing original about it. There is no real introduction of the characters or development of relationships; just because it’s a classic, it doesn’t mean the characters can be cardboard cut-outs. It is a perfect meld of Disney’s “Aladdin” with the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairy tale and nothing more. One would expect more from Bryan Singer, the director that brought to life “The Usual Suspects.”
For its lacking originality, “Jack the Giant Slayer” is truly enjoyable for its dedicated cast of personable actors. Nicholas Hoult has proven to be one of the most charming young actors currently working, whether he’s playing Beast, a zombie, or Jack. Complementing his charm, Ewan McGregor adds some playfulness and humor when they work as a duo.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is not exactly an epic fantasy film, but it is one you can feel comfortable taking your children to see. Avoid the 3-D for very young children since the close-ups highlight the giants’ nastiness. My daughter was frightened at first but quickly adapted as soon as these villains became laughable. It is fun for the whole family but not magical.
Rating for “Jack the Giant Slayer:” B-
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is playing in IMAX 3-D at AMC Lennox and Easton, but it is showing all across Columbus. For showtimes, click here.