My interest in Jack the Giant Slayer was non-existent until I noticed Stanley Tucci in the trailer. Tucci is one of those actors who can transform a film with nothing more than a cameo so my curiosity was piqued.
Nicholas Hoult’s status was high after Warm Bodies and Brian Singer gets the benefit of the doubt because of X-Men.
Jack the Giant Slayer couldn’t fail. Could it?
PLOT: Jack (Nicholas Hoult) swaps his horse for some beans and unwittingly grows a huge beanstalk which joins earth with a land filled with man eating Giants. After Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) gets kidnapped by the giants Jack, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Roderick (Stanley Tucci) set off to rescue her. As Jack and Isabelle climb down the beanstalk they are followed by the giants who are determined to go to war. END PLOT
Everyone knows the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, a popular fairy tale that can be read in about 5mins. The idea of stretching this story over the course of a 114min (IMDB) film was a major mistake.
The plot is paper thin and straddles along the line between old fashioned and lazy. The premise of an overbearing father sending a team of manly men to rescue a damsel in distress just doesn’t work anymore, at least not on such an obvious manner.
Brian Singer has proved that sometimes short children’s stories should remain as they were intended. A trip to the editing room to trim the film down to a 90min family film would have removed the dud and unfunny filler scenes which brought the film to a halt.
Nicholas Hoult is fine as Jack and has a quintessentially British charm. I am paying him a compliment but he needs to choose his next couple of roles very carefully as there is a change he may evolve into Hugh Grant albeit a less creepy version. Eleanor Tomlinson as Jack’s love interest is fine in a thankless role.
Stanley Tucci is restrained and not allowed to steal the show. This was a wasted opportunity.
The supporting characters are a tale of two Ewans. Ewan McGregor, with hair styled so perfectly that it will cause Jason Bateman is exhale sarcastically when he sees it, is great fun as Elmont. McGregor is clearly having great fun and it comes across very well on screen. Ewan Bremner as Roderick’s lackey falls flat on his face and is embarrassing to watch.
The giants looked impressive but their overly Northern Irish accents meant that they were more annoying than sinister. It is hard to take a threat seriously from a group of people who sound like they are from a housing estate in Belfast regardless of their height advantage.
Overall the effects were decent but the film didn’t come to life until the Giants clambered down the beanstalk and attacked the city. Unfortunately by this stage it was too late as the only thing I was interested in was leaving the screen.
Jack the Giant Slayer doesn’t work as it is too predictable to be considered an epic tail and takes itself too seriously to have any tongue-in-cheek humour. It gets a 4/10.
I am now terrified that Brian Singer is going to ruin X-Men. This is not something I ever thought possible.