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Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

March 19, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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We all know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk right? I thought I knew it pretty well and was not really sure what to expect.  I can recall sitting on my grandmother’s knee and reading this classic childhood story just before bedtime. Why stories of giants would help me sleep has never been clear in my mind, however I loved it and remember it well. That being said my expectations were low as I already knew the plot and have seen it over done, year after year in cheap pantomimes.

To fully appreciate Jack the Giant Slayer, you do not need to have read the book.  Directed by Bryan Singer (of X-Men fame) and with a screenplay written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney you are forced on a journey of true bravery, pushed through tales of love and fantasy, taken to many heights of wonder and amusement.

For those of you who do not know the story, the character, Jack played by former Skins actor, Nicholas Hoult is a young farmer who leads the expedition to rescue Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) from the gruesome giants in the land above.  The Invading giants were banished to a realm in the sky after being defeated by an ancient King by controlling them with a magical crown. The crown is stolen from the Kingdom by Stanley Tucci as Lord Roderick, an adviser to the king with designs on usurping power.  The crown throughout the tale gets stolen, found and passed on to different characters, keeping you at the edge of your seat, wondering what the giants will do next, depending on whom they are to obey.

The beanstalk is the only connection our world has to the giants.  The Beanstalk grows from the magic beans a monk stole from Roderick which he then offered to Jack as collateral for his horse (in the book this is a cow).  Jack’s father throws the beans onto the floor after an argument with his son over selling the horse and Jack, thinking he has retrieved them all, misses one. The bean then gets wet in a storm and becomes a mighty beanstalk etc etc.

The animation is breath-taking  from  the start, the beanstalk crashing through the house and rising up, up, up into the air makes you feel a little shaken (especially if you suffer from vertigo).  Once taken above, the effects really kick in as the Giants; almost troll like exceed all expectation. Bill Nighy and John Kassir star as Fallon, the two-headed leader of the giants.  This is the scariest of them all but every Giant you meet will have you wriggling like a worm on a stick. Helping Jack to defeat the Giants are Ewan McGregor as Elmont, the leader of the king’s elite guard, and additionally, Eddie Marsan as Crawe, Elmont’s second-in-command.  All actors big or small make this a believable fairy tale come true.

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The final scene reminds us just how amazing history is and how the Royal Family play a huge part in helping us to remember. Whether the stories we are told are based on truth or fantasy, the stories of history make us who we are and everything we believe from the past always plays a part in our future.

Samuel Sims.

FEE, FI, FO, RUN to the cinema and see it in 3D, Jack the Giant Slayer is released in UK cinemas Friday 22nd March.