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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday May 23rd 2024

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer

Howard McQuitter II

Movie Corner

Jack the Giant


Warner Bros. Cast: Nicholas Hoult (Jack), Eleanor Tomlinson (Isabelle), Ewan McGregor (Elmont), Stanley Tucci (Roderick), Eddie Marsan (Crawe), Ewen Bremmer (Wicke).(PG-13) Running time:114 minutes. Director: Bryan Singer. 

A simple, young farmhand Jack (Nicholas Hoult) unwittingly starts a war between giants in the clouds and earthly humans that hasn”'t happened in centuries.

One Day Jack went to the marketplace where he intermittently eyes a pretty girl in the crowd who happens to be Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson). But on the way back from fending off three or four brutes from Isabelle, a monk convinces Jack to buy a handful of beans in exchange for his horse. Those beans, however,are not ordinary beans”“they”'re magic.

Meanwhile, Isabelle is suited to marry a surly knight Roderick (Stanley Tucci) on order of her father, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane). She rebuffs any marriage to Roderick and at nightfall leaves the castle fleeing to Jack”'s hut. There at the hut is short-lived because Jack dropped a bean producing a monstrous beanstalk rises to the skies carrying the hut and Isabelle with it.

The king sends out a group of men”“Jack willing volunteers”“including Elmont (Ewan McGregor), Jack”'s good friend,and the backstabbing Roderick. The special effects almost pound the story into the ground in regard to growing beanstalk and the dozens of giants climbing down on beanstalks will frighten very young children.

I remember, as a boy, the story book tale Jack and the Beanstalk in a fond way. No CGI or digital handiwork in the 1950s, just a fairy tale from a book or on the radio or, yes, even in a movie.

As I understand, the budget for “Jack and the Giant” is a whopping $200 million. That in itself should be an embarrassment for all the expensive gimmickry for a child”'s tale of old, put before viewers only to have their eyes sabotaged by the director and special effects crew”'s gilded pleasures. It”'s too bad because “Jack and the Giant Slayer” isn”'t really a total stinker but once you climb the proverbial beanstalk Bryan Singers”' “Jack” doesn”'t pass the smell test.

Hollywood of late has been seemingly enamored (happily to reap huge bags of gold)with recreating old children”'s fairy tales into “viable” movies. But if “Jack” is enfeebled by its superfluousness,”Mirror Mirror” (2012),starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen/The Que…, and Lily Collins, the “good” little Snow White, is clearly a shambles. Director Rupert Sanders”' Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), starring Charlize Theron, as the wicked !Queen/Ravenna and Kristen Stewarts as Snow White, is a markedly improvement over “Mirror Mirror” yet it still lacks suspense and at times appears more fanciful than what urgency is needed. Another attempt at a 21st century making of “Oz the Great and Powerful””, directed by a usual sure director Sam Raimi, is serviceable but that”'s about all. What is next with another children”'s fairy tale butchered, slanted, de-sanitized and gender “correct”? Some things maybe should well be left alone.

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