Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer Review

As I posted in my March movie preview, the first weekend of March has recently been a great spot for movies to land. The last four movies to open in that spot all wound up with over $100M in their final domestic box office total, with all but one opening above $50M. That fact combined with the fact that last June audiences piled in the theaters to see the very average Snow White and the Hunstman, propelling that movie to an opening weekend of nearly $60M, and it seemed like Jack the Giant Slayer was in a good position to succeed. However, it appears that Snow White is a much more interesting fairy tale than Jack and the Beanstalk even with the wooden Kristen Stewart playing her because audiences just aren't interested in Jack the Giant Slayer and it will wind up as an even bigger flop than last March's John Carter. It's quite the shame really because as it turns out, while it's not the perfect movie, Jack the Giant Slayer is certainly better than all three recent fairy tale adaptions to hit the big screen (Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Hunstman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). However, even though Jack is poised to fall flat on his face in opening weekend and get swallowed up by Oz next weekend, it's not to late for you as the reader of this post. Go and be a part of the minority of people that are seeing Jack perform this weekend. I'd say I'd guarantee you won't be disappointed, but I guess I can't do that. But I can tell you that I really enjoyed it.

We all know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and this movie doesn't really stray too far from that. It's not trying to pull off what Hansel and Gretel did in late January by taking a fairy tale and completely twisting and turning it into a gruesome R-rated bloodbath. We have the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk that is extended to include a kingdom for the Giants to fight and a beautiful princess for Jack to fall in love with. A lot of people that have complaints about this are complaining about the boring story line and lame characters and I don't understand their point. This is not something groundbreaking, super original, or mind blowing, but it is a fun story with good characters. And it is more directed towards the family audience. And by family audience, I don't mean a young mother bringing her three kids ages five and under to the movie theaters. It is a PG-13 rated movie, but it's a light PG-13 that is closer to PG than R and I think preteens and teenagers sitting down with their parents is totally appropriate for this setting.

The best part of this movie is certainly the visuals. I think all the CGI giants are done really well as well as the beanstalk and amazing scenery. I don't know if I would say it is quite to the level of Snow White and the Huntsman in terms of the visuals, but it is pretty good. Like I said, there are many complaining that the story is too boring and while I disagree with that, I can maybe understand where they are coming from if they were perhaps expecting something totally different and groundbreaking from this, I don't understand the complaints about the characters being bad. I thought all the characters were fantastic and the acting was superb. Specifically this movie stars Nicholas Hoult, who is fresh off his great role as R in Warm Bodies, playing Jack. And although being Jack is much different than being a zombie turning into a human, he does a great job in this just as he did in Warm Bodies. Eleanor Tomlinson isn't a name I have heard very much, but she plays the princess and although you can say her role is very cliche, I actually think it works quite well because the chemistry between her and Nicholas Hoult is very strong. Also you have Ewan McGregor making an appearance in a big name movie for the first time in a while and he is great as always. We also have Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci, and several others who do a good job to make this work.

Overall, I wouldn't consider this an epic fantasy adventure that will be looked at by many as one of the great movies of our day. It does some minor things that I could pick at like the giants being oddly weak at the end, the beanstalk being too easy to chop down, and the score not being particularly strong and moving, but it a fun, family fantasy adventure that is worth you checking out. I am awarding Jack the Giant Slayer an 8 out of 10.

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