Mania Grade: B-
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- Rated: PG-13
- Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan and Ian McShane
- Written By: Darren Lemke, David Dobkin, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney
- Directed By: Bryan Singer
- Original Year of Release: 2013
- Distributor: Warner Bros.
- Extras: See Below
Jack The Giant Slayer Blu-Ray Review
Jack and the Giants are Fe, Fi, Fo, Fun!
By Tim Janson
June 23, 2013
Like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Jack the Giant Slayer is another film based on a classic fairy tale but this one is actually fun. It uses a tried and true formula found in literally thousands of fantasy novels about a hero who comes from humble means to rescue the kingdom. Jack (Nicholas Hoult of Warm Bodies) plays Jack, a young man who lives on a farm with his uncle. When he’s sent to the marketplace in the Kingdom of Cloister to sell a horse for supplies, he ends up exchanging the horse for some beans given to him by a monk who is trying to escape the castle. The monk made off a magical crown belonging to Lord Roderick (Tucci), advisor to King Brahmwell (McShane).
Jack is chastised by his uncle for foolishly giving up the horse for the beans and leaves their small farmhouse in a huff, tossing several of the beans to the floor. Shortly after, Princess Isabelle (Tomlinson), who snuck out of the castle to flee her impending marriage to Roderick, shows up at Jack’s door, looking for shelter from a storm. As the rain pours down, it soaks the beans, causing them to grow mammoth beanstalks which carry the small house far into the air. Jack falls to the ground leaving Isabelle to be carried above the clouds to the home of the Giants who were imprisoned on their floating island ages ago.
Jack, along with Roderick, Elmont the leader of the King’s Guard (McGregor), and several other guards ascend the stalks in order to rescue Isabelle. But Roderick has another plan in mind. The stolen crown, which he has now recovered, gives the wearer power to control the giants and he intends to use them to conquer Cloister.
Jack the Giant Slayer was produced by New Line Cinema who also produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy and you can definitely see a Tolkienesque influence, particularly with some of the spectacular panoramic shots of the scenery and large set pieces. The kingdom of the giants features towering, monolithic images, not unlike the statues of the great kings seen in The Fellowship of the Ring. And the giants aren’t merely giants they are GIANTS! Massive, several stories tall figures that can easily hold several humans in the palms of their hands. Their sheer size and ability for destruction would seem to make them insurmountable foes.
As in “Warm Bodies”, Hoults boyish charm and good looks makes him the perfect everyman hero who rises to the challenge even when the best King’s guards have failed. He has a sense of physical comedic timing that serves him well as he escapes from one deadly situation after another, even rescuing Elmont from being turned into a human crepe.
The film falls short with the supporting cast. Roderick is little more than a predictable, one-dimensional villain. Oh the King’s advisor betrays him? Yeah, that’s original. Tucci makes little attempt to do anything interesting with the role. McGregor also seems to be just going through the motions as the heroic, but largely ineffective leader of the King’s guard, failing over and over, making you wonder how he managed to rise to the position he holds. McShane, who has always exceled in villainous roles, is miscast as the dutiful King Brahmwell. The giants though are a joy to watch and their assault on Cloister Castle rivals that of the Battle of Helm’s Deep in “The Two Towers” for sheer spectacle on a grand scale.
While Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t overly ambitious it is mostly a joy to watch with outstanding creature effects and a likable hero.
Become a Giant Slayer (1:06:56) – this near feature length extra is hosted by Nicholas Hoult and is interactive. You use your remote to ascend a giant beanstalk, choosing your path along the way with the arrow keys. Along the way you land on various leaves that you can click on to take you to behind-the-scenes featurettes on various subjects of the film’s productions such as costume design; techniques for fighting giants; escaping from a giant’s kitchen; saving the princess; etc…at times a timer will appear and you will have to push the arrow key in the correct direction before the timer ends to avoid being knocked off the vine by boulders.
Deleted Scenes (8:27)
Gag Reel (3:09)