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Movie Review: 'Jack the Giant Slayer'

Jack the Giant Slayer

Starring Nicolas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci
Directed by Brian Singer
Rated PG-13

Bryan Singer’s best movie to date is the Usual Suspects.  Even though he wasn’t responsible for the screenplay (those accolades fall to Christopher McQuarrie).  He is responsible for building a suspenseful movie that not only gave you an ending you never saw coming (no matter how good your movie acumen is) and also made Stephen Baldwin look like a better actor than his brother Alec.  But after the vastly underrated Apt Pupil made back enough money to only pay off the catering bill for the film shoot, Singer has transitioned to giving us studio pictures, big budget studio pictures.  Now make no mistake, his studio pictures are far superior to many of his peers.  But whenever Singer’s name gets mentioned with a project, you breathe a sigh of relief that the film will be in good hands, but some of the spark that made his earlier films really stand out has kinda gone AWOL.

And that leads us to Jack the Giant Slayer, Singer’s newest film that’s been sitting around for close to a year (one would assume because of a post 3D conversion process) but upon further inspection, it seems that maybe Warner Bros saw this movie, liked it, but couldn’t see this movie doing well at all at a time when movies like this should do really well (summer).   So what do you do?  Well, you move it to the quiet month of March, where competition is scarce and you dream that your film will be the one that during the lagging months of winter and into spring, rides away with a pile of cash.  But first you have to make a movie worth getting excited for, which Warner Bros has done a horrendous job of doing, and secondly, you have to make a movie that doesn’t feel like a paycheck job….that one’s on you Singer.

Jack the Giant Slayer is based on Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer and weaves the two stories into one movie.  Jack (Nicolas Hoult) is sent into town to sell a horse, and while in town, he manages to stand up for Princess Isabelle (Elenor Tomlinson) and sell his horse a monk for a bag of beans; beans which he stole from Roderick (Stanley Tucci).  Roderick who has ulterior motives for the beans, plans to use those motives and his pending marriage to the Princess to…care to take a guess?  Yep, rule the country.  But the monk entrusts young Jack to protect the beans, but if were that simple then we wouldn’t have a very long movie.  Yep, after an argument with his uncle over the beans, one beans slips away, gets the water it needs to grow and boy does it grow.

But luckily for plot movement, the Princess, who has a penchant for getting out of the castle to explore the world, finds shelter at Jack’s house just as the beanstalk is sprouted, taking her up into the sky where we meet the Giants...and these aren’t your Mothers Jolly Green Giants.  So it’s up to Jack and all the King's men (led by Ewan Macgregor) to save her.  But don’t think the story ends there.  Remember Roderick?  Well his plan is to bring the Giants from there sky dwelling land so he can..Yep, you guessed it, rule the country. So its up to Jack, all the King's men (led by Obi Wan) and the princess to stop Roderick's plans.  This is where the movie earns its highest marks.

Jack the Giant Slayer could’ve been a great movie, if it was made by Pixar.  A common thought that ran through my mind throughout the entire movie.  And seeing how Warner’s reportedly spent close to $200 million dollars on this movie, you might as well go with a company that has a soild track record…but we’re stuck with a Jack the Giant Slayer movie from Warner Bros…the same studio that can’t handle making decent DC Comic movies (Nolan Batman trilogy excluded) and has done an even worse job with seemingly no brainer properties like Clash of the Titans.

But Jack the Giant Slayer is entertaining and also completely forgettable.  Credit Singer, because of his talents, to make a movie that keeps you from checking the time, but fault Singer for putting no effort into the movie and making you forget about it the moment you walk into you front door.  The performances by Tucci, McGregor and Hoult are good, but they done these same characters before (especially Tucci and McGregor) in better films.  If you want to see a movie this weekend,  you won’t be done wrong by Jack, but he also won’t make an impression on you either.

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