<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci, Eleanor Tomlinson, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner, Bill Nighy
Better than Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters but not half as good as Snow White & The Huntsman (Yes I loved it, so F* off!), this retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk tries to be different but ends up being as formula as you can get.
Fantasy is in big time and so are super heroes. Well at least if they’re not being original, Hollywood is sticking to classics to fill the void of their writer’s block! Loads of fairy tale movies have invaded our cinemas, all promising to magically transport us to Neverlands, Candylands and Enchanted Forests. I for one only liked Snow White & The Huntsman: because it was wonderfully told, beautifully imagined, with CGI that actually created a magical environment and inspite of having the utterly irritating Kristen Stewart it gave us a Snow White that could kick ass in a story that was truly original and inspired yet keeping the essence of the fable intact.
Jack The Giant Slayer is well… entertaining enough I guess. But then it also looks as if they’ve just made it with little imagination. You know the story: poor farmer Jack (Nicholas Hoult) goes off to sell his horse (or the cow as it was in the original fairy tale) and somehow gets conned by a monk to giving the horse away for a handful of beans (magical no less). Of course Jack has been busy rescuing the Princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) who is constantly running away from the castle on ‘adventures’. These include going into the village to watch a puppet show! Her next adventure is when she wants to get away from the man her father, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) wants her to marry: the over-ambitious and completely predictable Roderick (Stanley Tucci).
Bryan Singer, a director we respect and admire for some awesome X-Men movies and The Usual Suspects has tried to weave a new adaptation but though his impressive beanstalk towers to the land of Gantua (where the Giants are), his film falls short. The first three fourths are simply about rescuing the self-proclaimed ‘independent’ Princess leaving the grand battle to the last 20 minutes. And the Princess played by Eleanor Tomlinson looks pretty but she looks way much older than Nicholas Hoult’s Jack. And her character is the cliché damsel in distress – the makers of Brave would shake their heads in disapproval!
Still, Tomlinson does a fair job of her part, such as it is. Hoult is alright too. Ewan McGregor as Captain of the Guardians Elmont is the man you’ll be rooting for though. McGregor has played his character with gallantry, bravery, and wit and is the real Prince Charming of the piece.
Some of the 3D is pretty cool especially the perspective shots from the POV (point of view) of the giants looking down upon the puny humans. Otherwise, the CGI is so-so. Especially an opening scene retelling the legend of the beans and the giants, which looks like you’re watching an RPG (role-playing game) from the 90s!
Check out our feature Fairy Tale Films Are Back With A Vengeance here.