Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Interesting, but Suffers
Bryan Singer is a pretty well-known director in the film industry, and it is pretty clear by now that his works are typically not original. In fact, his works are usually borrowed from famous stories, be it…from superhero stories like Superman or X-Men, or borrowing the idea of Sherlock Holmes for the television show, House, M.D. His latest motion picture also takes from a famous story, but the style is quite different from the others. This time around, we venture back in time to watch a Jack and the Beanstalk story in live-action. His film? Jack the Giant Slayer.
This film starts off how you would typically imagine a Jack and the Beanstalk story to begin. Almost exactly how we all remember the story, Jack’s uncle tells him to sell their horse (not cow), and Jack (Nicholas Hoult) accepts a bag of magical beans instead of cash. His uncle gets mad and tosses the beans aside, which end up growing a giant beanstalk to a giant kingdom. What isn’t expected was obviously the other stories going on simultaneously. First, there is the kingdom where Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlison) is being forced to marry a rich man by the name of Roderick (Stanley Tucci), but her refusal sends her seeking shelter at Jack’s house. When the beanstalk grows, it takes her and the house with it, and it is up to all of the kings climbing team and Jack to get the Princess back. What happens though, when the Giants come after them, and what happens when Roderick has a sinister plan of his own?
There has been what seems like countless Jack and the Beanstalk movies and TV shows. Cartoon and live-action alike. So what makes this any better than the rest? Well, for one, you may be tired of hearing the same story told over and over, and want to see a real challenge for Jack and the kingdom…and a powerful army of Giants makes sense in that regard. Our current abilities with CGI animation should also be more than enough to really make giants look evil versus the just…really tall people….seen in previous versions. They actually got the giants to look more like monsters in this movie, but the CGI just wasn’t up to par, so while the character models looked great, the audience just can’t fully buy that these giants are a real threat.
That being said, the filmmakers were able to take the flaws that they do have when it comes to CGI, and made it a style. Everything was consistent in how it looked, it may have looked fake, but it almost screamed at us like that was the point. It has a very surreal adventure feel to it. If ever there was an action/adventure film, this would be it. There is plenty of action, believe me, and plenty of adventure. Even though you know what happens…sort of…you still want to see how they do it in this movie. Which is a good sign for them.
The acting is alright as well. For the most part, there will never be a time when you will actually think the acting is bad, because it’s not. There are a pair of stupid goons in the beginning of the movie, but fear not, they aren’t in it very long. So the acting is good, the direction is good, the style is interesting, and the CGI is pretty bad. So what does that mean?
It means that the movie is okay. When something pretty detrimental to the story is “pretty bad”, that really effects the rating, even when the rest of the elements are actually decent. What happens here is that the main element which they expected the rest to survive off of was bad, so in turn, the whole thing suffers.
Check it out, you may not feel a threat from the giants, but it’s still a fun adventure flick. Jack the Giant Slayer came to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jun. 18!