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Giant Gobs of Fun - A review of Jack, the Giant Slayer

Updated on March 8, 2013
Ewan MacGregor stars as a bodyguard in the fantasy thriller Jack the Giant Killer.
Ewan MacGregor stars as a bodyguard in the fantasy thriller Jack the Giant Killer.
4 stars for Jack, The Giant Slayer

Summary: Ewan MacGregor, Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane elevate this fractured fairy tale to new heights. Lord of the Rings fans will love this updating of the tale.

Fantasy movies always get me going. I enjoy watching the meek standing up to and challenging the arrogant. That’s the nature of more than a few fairy tales.

We’ve seen quite a few fairy tales brought to life in recent years for the big screen, including Red Riding Hood and the more recent Hansel and Gretel. And now, here’s a modern update of the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale.

I find it amusing that people have said these updates are too dark. Well, then again, the original tales are pretty dark, too. I can remember having a nightmare or two after reading some of these classic stories.

Here, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is not the brightest hero ever to grace the screen, but he is tenacious. When the princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) visits his cabin in the middle of nowhere and a beanstalk grows beneath the hovel carrying it to heights unknown, he volunteers to join the king’s army to rescue her despite an innate fear of heights.

Here, the villains are two fold. Obviously, the giants who are out to devour mankind, but a self serving noble, Roderick (Stanley Tucci), is also out for his own personal gain. The heroes must mete out the justice that all the villains so richly deserve.

Fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will marvel at the magnificent quality story telling and the brilliantly done special effects. But the true kudos belong to the compelling group of actors who carry this tale to the heart.

Hoult and Tomlinson each throw their all into the roles and are obviously having fun, and even Ewan MacGregor as the princess’ bodyguard proves that he can handle even post Star Wars action style adventure.

Ian McShane is his stoic stodgy self as the king wants the best for his kingdom and his daughter. But Tucci steals more than a few scenes with his chomping gusto that makes him the kind of actor any director would want to play a villain like this.

There’s nothing overly great or overly bad about the movie, but there is one truly gross-out scene involving a giant preparing food and his nastily probing finger. That sort of scene will actually make you wish you didn’t visit the concession stand before the movie.

But even that scene can’t completely dispel the raucous sense of adventure prevalent throughout the story of Jack, the Giant Killer. I give the movie an immense four out five stars.

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