Movie: Jack the Giant Slayer
My Rating: 3 stars
I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. For as much as I like seeing classic, fairy tales, retold, I wasn’t expecting very much from this one. Maybe the market has been a little oversaturated with these things. But, I was very pleasantly surprised. Maybe it was the charming actors. Nicholas Hoult is a lovable, puppy-dog-eyed Jack. Eleanor Tomlinson is radiant and bewitching as the princess. And, Ewan McGregor is a surprisingly charismatic, yet hateful villain. It’s a great cast. And, they’re all terrific actors. No one was cast on looks alone. It’s a shame that I even have to mention that as a plus, but we’ve all seen examples to the contrary.
This is a pretty classic retelling of the Jack and the Bean Stalk story—but with an added love interest. Stories are always a little more exciting with the love of an intoxicating princess on the line. But, this film also weaves in a much richer back-story for the traditional tale. It explains the origin and importance of the magic beans, and gives more context for the existence of the kingdom of giants in the clouds. And, the movie actually creates some stakes for the kingdom in which these characters live. There’s a reason for all these elements, rather than having them be a random and fantastical turn of events. It turns the story from a simple, child’s tale, into more of a heroic epic with heroes and villains, and power struggles. And, I always appreciate good storytelling, and this movie does is very well.
This movie is also very visually gorgeous. Of course, I did find the giants to be a little offputtingly computer-generated. But that aside, the kingdom is richly filmed, the beanstalk is lush, the royal palace is splendid and awe-inspiring in scale. And, I’m always a sucker for a richly draped, medieval costume. (Surprising, I know). Can someone get me an ermine-lined king’s cape, please?
This is a good movie and I recommend it. As an added bonus, it’s a film that everyone in the family will enjoy. (Of course, nothing’s going to help you if you have a kid who’s afraid of every dimly-lit scene or snarling animal). But, the movie is exciting and beautiful, and it has a well-crafted story. And, I think this one has been a little overlooked, with the constant influx of exciting new movies being released. So, I definitely think it’s worth it to go back and check this one out.