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It's pretty much a guarantee that if you grew up with fairy tales, you
would certainly know the story of Jack and The Beanstalk. I know I
have; when I was a kid, this story was everywhere. I saw it played out
by Mickey Mouse in the "Fun and Fancy Free," by Snoopy in "The Charlie
Brown and Snoopy Show," and by Bugs Bunny in "Jack Wabbit and The
Beanstalk." The tale is a timeless child's fantasy story, and for that
alone, this movie mostly succeeds.
After the opening credits, the film opens with an introduction of our
two main characters: Jack (played by Nicholas Hoult, fresh off his role
in last month's "Warm Bodies") and princess Isabelle (played by Elanor
Tomlinson). Just like in the original fairy tale, Jack is a poor farm
hand who is tricked into trading valuable livestock (in this movie it's
a horse rather than a cow) for supposed "magic beans." Princess
Isabelle, however is pretty much the textbook definition of a Disney
princess. Her mother is dead, her father is an over-protective king who
wants her to marry someone she doesn't like, she's tired of her boring
life in the palace and dreams of adventure. When I first came across
this character, I immediately planned on chastising her as extremely
clichéd in this review. However, once I began watching this in the
context of a kids movie, I found this to be much more tolerable. Though
in a 2013-released film, it still feels kind of dated.
Those expecting another "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" will be
disappointed. This movie is pretty family-friendly overall and has a
light hearted attitude throughout. Despite this film's hefty body
count, the characters consistently joke around and get themselves into
shenanigans. It could very well be irritating to those expecting a more
mature fantasy based on the rating and advertising, as it does
admittedly feel too silly at times. However, as a family film, the
combination of violence and silliness makes it somewhat a fusion of the
family films of the 80's and 90's respectively.
The rest of the characters are decently developed, including the
sinister Lord Roderick (played by Stanley Tucci) and the noble knight
Elmont (played by Ewan McGreggor). No character was given that much
development, which I actually didn't really mind. I knew enough about
each character, and in a fast-paced fairy tale like this, keeping the
plot moving and interesting were the most important aspects.
The giants were pretty interesting too. In a way, they reminded me of
the trolls in last year's "The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey," as they
are excessively gross, uncivilized and high-tempered. I'm certain that
kids will get a laugh out of their flatulent, booger-eating ways. I was
initially concerned that this film would just portray them as
unstoppable villains with no personality. Instead, the film fleshes
them out a bit and gives them a motive for their actions. I certainly
wouldn't mind a prequel film giving more meat to their hatred for
The cast gives their all, especially Nicholas Hoult. Here he brings to
Jack the same charm and timidity he gave to R in "Warm Bodies." I feel
that he he has the capability and likability to carry a movie as the
lead role, and I look forward to his future endeavors next year.
"Jack The Giant Slayer" will reasonably divide critics and audiences,
but if I had kids, I would have no problem taking them to see this.
It's a fun little adventure that kids and open-minded adults will get a
kick out of.
Tags for Jack the Giant Slayer Full Movie
, Ewan McGregor
, Nicholas Hoult
, Stanley Tucci
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