Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)
Dir: Bryan Singer
Apparently magic beans are like gremlins, whatever you do don’t get them wet!
Based on the traditional fairytales of Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer, Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) stars as Jack, a farm boy who ends up one day exchanging his uncles horse for some beans that a monk says he can redeem for gold. However these magic beans hold the ability to reconnect the human world with the legendary giant world of times long past. Being a fairytale then we must throw in the beautiful young Princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) who falls for Jack and who obviously needs rescuing, her father the king (Ian McShane), some chivalrous men (Ewan McGregor and Eddie Marsan), and an evil Lord (Stanley Tucci), and of course the giants led by two-headed Fallon (mainly Bill Nighy).
I wonder if the name was changed to remove the word ‘Beanstalk’ as kids don’t like vegetables? This aimed to follow many other fairytale films reworked in recent years, such as ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘, though apparently the idea was around before most of them. It suffered from a hugely delayed production, and the release was set back considerably. That’s very rarely a good sign.
It always used to be rhymed that the giants could smell the blood of an Englishman, thus the accents and setting are very fitting. Much was actually filmed on location in England, though a lot of the film of course was heavily CGI created and green-screened.
Sadly it doesn’t quite reach the grand epic levels that a film about huge giants should, falling a little flat in terms of fantasy action. Also, there’s some confusion about whether to like the giants or hate them. Snow White went dark, brooding, and with some clear and detestable villains, but this has giants that waver between menacing and incompetent with much of their scenes being infused with humour. Are the audience expected to laugh with, at, or root against them? It looks from what I’ve read like there were changes in scriptwriter, with one of them coming in and completely changing the structure, viewpoint and back story, which seems to have confused matters more rather than clarify and polish them.
It’s well worth following director Bryan Singer on Twitter, especially if you’re interested in whatever he’s working on, at the moment that’s his return to the X-Men franchise with Days of Future Past. He tweets often and with both behind the scenes info and teaser snaps of cast and sets, which can often be quite exciting. A little more of that excitement could have been put to good use here, but never mind, hopefully he’s saving it all for his next film!