Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Film Review: Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Jack The Giant Slayer (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

" ...almost every element in this film is underutilized, from its concept to its action."

Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a young farmhand who is given mysterious beans by an on-the-run monk in exchange for his horse. Later at night during a storm, Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), the princess, arrives at Jack's home seeking shelter... until the princess and his home are forced into the skies by a massive beanstalk.

Jack The Giant Slayer continues as Jack and Elmont (Ewan McGregor), the princess' guardian, as well as many others, travel up the beanstalk to find and return the princess. At the top of the beanstalk is a beautiful land... filled with wandering giants. What should have been a fairly simple mission becomes complicated when the princess' husband-to-be, who also came along, reveals his intentions. And so on and so forth, Jack and Elmont basically work together to save the princess. This predictable story leads to a superb, action-packed finale -- definitely a highlight for the film.

Jack The Giant Slayer really lacks a certain magic. The film is based on a fairly tale, "Jack and the Beanstalk", and it just doesn't really have that vibe. An interesting and creative concept, sure, but it never really uses it effectively. On top of that, the story feels light and uneventful. There is a sense of adventure, but it never reaches awe-inspiring levels, which is disappointing considering the supposed scale of the adventure. The scale is most notable during the epic final act where it finally takes advantage of its giants. The plot is predictable, the characters are cliché, and there are a few plot contrivances -- oddly enough, I kind of expected all of this, so I didn't hate it.

Nicholas Hoult has some charm and charisma with his performance, but not enough to be a leading man -- good but not great. The same goes for Eleanor Tomlinson, who doesn't really get a chance to shine. Ewan McGregor is great, though, with some charm and humor in his performances, as well as some seriousness. The music is fantastic, really exhilarating, despite the film not lacking some. The cinematography is great, a real breathtaking aspect of the film. The special effects are also spectacular. Bryan Singer's direction is great, but he fails to capture the heart and magic needed for a fantasy film like this.

Overall, Jack The Giant Slayer is an entertaining fantasy film. It has some action, some humor, and some fantasy. However, almost every element in this film is underutilized, from its concept to its action. It's technically a spectacular film, but it's only a good film in every other aspect, like story and acting, and those have more weight, in my opinion.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Fantasy violence and blood.

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