Jack the Giant Slayer movie poster
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Jack the Giant Slayer
Jack the Giant Slayer movie poster

Jack the Giant Slayer Movie Review

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It's a dangerous combination: a beautiful princess and beans. Only bad things can come of such a mix, and such is the case with Jack the Giant Slayer, a moderately entertaining but ultimately forgettable action-adventure from director Bryan Singer.

Jack the Giant Slayer represents a spin on the classic tale "Jack and the Beanstalk," only in this case Jack (Nicholas Hoult, from Warm Bodies) must team with a band of knights (led by Ewan McGregor) to climb into the heavens to rescue the kingdom's princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) from a group of savage giants. The treasure is not a golden goose or magical harp, but a hot chick in a corset. I'd say times have changed, but have they really?

Jack the Giant Slayer was a critical and box office underachiever when it was released in early 2013, which in some ways is understandable, and in other ways a shame. I went into the movie with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised, as the movie is a reasonably fun, fast-paced adventure film that the average moviegoer will probably enjoy.

On the other hand, for a movie about a war between humans and giants, it is missing something.  Character development is pretty weak; while Nicholas Hoult makes for a good protagonist, the relationship between he and Tomlinson is underdeveloped and their chemistry with one another feels more fabricated than it should be. Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane clearly signed on for the paycheck.

More importantly, the movie is neither as creative or as suspenseful as it should have been. Singer introduces slivers of goofiness - McGregor is captured and becomes one third of a "pig in a blanket" meal - but largely resorts to seriousness after the first act, a mistake considering his movie could have been a live-action version of Shrek. Furthermore, there is never any sense that the main characters are in real danger; the movie shifts from one action scene to the next without developing tension, which is somewhat surprising given that Singer has shown he is capable of doing just that in other projects.

The visual effects are also shrugworthy.

Still, despite its shortcomings, Jack the Giant Slayer wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It has plenty of action and is easy to watch. It's not as original as it could have been, but worse sins have been committed in Hollywood.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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