Review: Jack the Giant Slayer / Cert: 15 / Director: Bryan Singer / Screenplay: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney / Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Eddie Marsan, Bill Nighy, Ewen Bremner, John Kassir / Release Date: July 22nd
Jack the Giant Slayer is a big budget reimagining of the classic children’s fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk, directed by Brian ‘X-Men’ Singer. In the film, giants have faded into legend, along with the king who once defeated them using a magic crown. Jack (Hoult), a young farmhand adopted by his uncle, recollects the stories being read to him by his now-deceased father.
The titular hero is sent to town to sell a horse, where he unwittingly defends the rebellious Princess Isabelle (Tomlinson) from a group of thugs before the king’s guards Elmont McGregor and Marsan) arrive to take her back to the palace. Jack then acquires ‘magic beans’ from a desperate monk, stolen from Roderick (Tucci), the corrupt king’s adviser and future husband of Isabelle.
The princess later escapes again and seeks solace at Jack’s house. The rain causes one of the beans to sprout a giant beanstalk, taking Isabelle and Jack’s house with it into the sky, where the realm of giants supposedly exists. King Brahmwell (McShane) sends his best men to save her, along with volunteers Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s assistant Wicke (Bremner). You can guess what happens next.
An impressive British cast all put in fine performances in a thoroughly enjoyable film (a lot more than the concept suggests). The CGI impresses; the giants are gloriously revolting and seem to imitate Arthur Rackham’s illustrations. The on-screen worlds of both giants and medieval men are enchanting and believable.
The film is a bit scarier than parents might expect and may not be suitable for sensitive children, hence the 12A rating upon its cinema release, although it will definitely keep their attention. The action and fight sequences are impressive, with one scene almost reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings’ Battle of Helms Deep. All in all, this is one of the better of the recent spate of folk tale adaptations, one which leaves the words ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’ strongly engrained in the memory.
Extras: Gag reel/ Deleted scenes