Posted March 4, 2013 by Nicolo Parungo in Movies/TV

Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

On paper, Jack the Giant Slayer has all the elements for a solid Hollywood blockbuster. It’s an adaptation of a well-known fairy tale everyone loves, the cast features young up-and-comers such as Nicholas Hault and Eleanor Tomlinson; and veteran actors, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Ewan McGregor. It’s also directed by fan favourite director, Bryan Singer, of X-Men and House MD fame. Simply put, it SHOULD be entertaining. So why is it a giant disappointment instead?

opening image

Because it’s dull! It’s not good enough to like or bad enough to be campy. It’s bland and lifeless which is sad because based on the concept alone, Jack the Giant Cash Cow should be one hell of a good time. Instead, it’s a depressing watch because of all the wasted potential.

Here come the spoilers.

Let’s give credit where credit is due, the effects aren’t bad and the plot has promise. There’s even a cool introduction for the beans (secret origin style), and yet it still feels like a fairy tale– that’s what the movie obviously wants to go for. It wants to be cheesy, and that’s fine. Fairy tales are great because of how imaginative they can be, and the movie gets points for making an interesting mythology about beans of all things.

The same, however, can’t be said for the characters. I can understand them being one-dimensional or cheesy. Hell, I would have loved it if they cheesed and hammed it up to a deliciously classic telling, but that wasn’t the case. The characters in the film were, at most, robotic. No, they weren’t actual robots, which would have made this movie better actually. Robots vs Giants sounds like a pretty sweet movie to me. The characters simply have no personality. You know a movie’s bad when the beans are more interesting than the characters.

You don't know jack

You don’t know Jack….

Jack is the best example of this; he’s the good guy because the film needs a protagonist, not because he was inspired by the tale of King Erik or because he was raised by hard working farmers. He’s good because the movie requires him to be good. He also has no internal struggle which is just awful. At one point his uncle asks him when the fuck he’s gonna grow up because he sold a horse for magic beans, but this jab was ignored by Jack and is never mentioned again. Why should I root for Jack?! I can’t answer that and neither can the damn movie. His love interest doesn’t fare any better. Isabelle is supposedly a rebellious princess, but she’s still a damsel in distress. She nearly gets raped by muggers at the start of the film, and is later taken hostage by the giants. The only difference is she gets herself into these situations! That would be okay if she was the one who saved herself, but I just called her a damsel in distress remember? Her dad’s knights save her from the muggers and Jack saves her from the giants. She doesn’t even TRY to defend herself from being raped! Way to stick it to daddy dearest, honey. She makes Bella Swan look tough. SERIOUSLY!

The other characters are even worse. Elmont is that one prick in every fantasy movie that HAS to hate the protagonist for no reason until said protagonist impresses him. Spoiler alert: HE GETS IMPRESSED and they become BFF’s! Lord Roderick, Isabelle’s evil fiancé, is a boring antagonist. His plan to take over the kingdom with an army of giants reeks of awesomeness, but he, himself, doesn’t. He has no motive aside from being evil which would be cool because I love overly dramatic bad guys, but he doesn’t even talk about how much he loves being evil. That’s just heart breaking. He’s like Jack, except he’s required to be bad. Isabelle’s dad is an overprotective king. Need I say more? Plus all the damn giants are practically the same. Even the one with TWO HEADS!

Ewan McGregor is Elmont in Jack the Giant Slayer

The king and I…

The script of the film is just horrendous. There’s no other word for it. The pacing is slow and then moves too fast near the end. We even get an antagonist switch near the end. GOOD GOD WHY?! It also relies on basic toilet humour, so expect plenty of burps, farts and booger picking here! There are also plenty of logic leaps. A giant can smell a knight hiding behind a tree, but can’t smell Jack behind him? Geezas. The script also suffers from lack of exposition and practically has no build up. At one point a giant pulls a slingshot out of his ass (No, not literally) and uses it as a weapon. We had NO IDEA he had it until he brought it out. Fuck! The movie also has the gall to expect you to care about its characters. Jack’s uncle has to sell his parent’s belongings and it makes Jack feel sad. Why does it make you sad, Jack? Does the memory of your kind parents make you a better person? OH WAIT! You never mention them! Later in the film some knight dies, but his name isn’t mentioned until he’s dead! He doesn’t even do anything significant, unless you count talking about cakes as important. What’s worse is everyone gets distraught about it; they even bury his body for God’s sake! He’s only in the film for like 20 minutes, and has about 6 lines and we’re supposed to feel bad? Who does the movie think he is? Uncle Ben?

The actors also don’t seem to give a damn except for Eleanor Tomlinson. She actually plays her role well with some good facial expressions and some fine acting, unlike lead actor, Nicky Hault. He has the same facial expression throughout the movie and his acting is just bland as his character. Stanley Tucci is worse; he’s horrid as the antagonist, Roderick. He doesn’t seem to embrace the cheesy nature of his character and gives a half assed performance because of it. Ian McShane and Ewan McGregor feel like they’re going through the motions here. At one point Ewan says I have a bad feeling about this, as if he were quoting Star Wars. Do you wish you were in Star Wars, Ewan? I wish I watched Star Wars instead of this mess.

Giants yo

We have a giant problem…

Even the directing has problems; there’s an awkward shot when Jack sells the horse to the monk, who rides away in an absolutely pointless slow motion scene. Plus the editing is rough; two scenes (one in the middle and one near the end) could have been cancelled, or at the least positioned in a more appropriate placement– and here I was excited for Singer’s return to the X-men franchise.

Don’t waste your time. Jack the Giant Slayer is simply awful. An interesting plot and some nice effects aren’t enough to save the film from an unmotivated cast, bland characters, awkward directing and a terrible script. Skip it and save some money.

Special Thanks to Warner Bros. for the invite!









Nicolo Parungo