Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
Title: Jack the Giant Slayer
What a giant journey this one turned out to be! Jack the Giant Slayer is the first full scale adventure to hit the big screen in 2013 and brings with it humor, royal romance, solid acting and of course Giants. Luckily audiences will not have to wait several more months and swim through a sea of blockbusters to find something exciting and enjoyable.
The story is familiar enough and follows the basic template of the fairy tale. A young, poor farm boy trades his horse for some “magic beans”. This produces a huge stalk that grows into the heavens opening a long closed portal between man and giant. This time the king’s daughter (Eleanor Tomlinson) gets involved and Jack (Nicholas Hoult) must join Elmont (Ewan McGregor), the leader of the royal guard, as they set out to save her. Added to the turmoil is a ruthless advisor to the king (Stanley Tucci) who has plans of his own when it comes to the giants.
Lots of fun moments in this one when it comes to not only the dialogue but the detailed creation of the giants. They are large, menacing, and at times disgusting; everything a good giant should be. They are all about crushing the bones of men and cooking them in pies. All of the recognizable attributes from the fairy tale are woven into the story line nicely. Still, the writing team did not rely solely on the look of the creatures but gave us some witty banter and human relationships to go along with it. Unlike most tales, this is not about a prince and a princess but instead a commoner who loves her. So Jack has to not only prove himself to everyone, but try even harder to win his true love.
McGregor and Tucci both try hard to give a good show. Actors of their caliber could have easily felt above the role and prepared only what was needed. Instead, these two throw themselves into the role 100 percent and seem to be having a blast with their characters. This of course bleeds over to the viewer, so we have a good time right along with them. Still it never feels cartoonish or campy.
One negative note; even though the action sequences are summer worthy and for the most part well executed, the 3D version does have a lot of fuzzy moments and fails more than succeeds. I am not sure the in your face moments outweigh the distractions. That is a shame too, because other than that, it is almost a perfect adventure story.
Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language. The main thing for parents to be concerned about is how menacing the giants will be to your pre-teens. They are constantly chasing and stomping humans which may give youngsters a few restless nights of sleep. Other than that it is a perfectly fun time for you and the older kids. I give it 3.75 out of 5 pigs in a blanket. If you get to see it in 2D you may even like it more.