In the run up to seeing Jack The Giant Slayer, I wasn’t much looking forward to Bryan Singer’s fantasy-adventure romp. The early signs were of an over the top, CGI-dependant flop, but I’ll freely admit, it’s actually rather good.
Alongside Warm Bodies, X-Men: First Class and the upcoming Mad Max reboot, Nicholas Hoult is carving himself a nice little career in Hollywood, and he leads Jack The Giant Slayer as our titular hero.
Trading his uncle’s last remaining horse for a pouch of magic beans, he’s warned not to let them get wet and that he can trade them back in a few days if he so desires. But of course that night under a heavy storm one wriggles free, and planting itself into the ground, begins a repeat of the legend Jack was told and dreamed of happening ever since.
After the Princess stumbled into Jack’s home to find shelter amid the heavy storms, when a humongous beanstalk launches upward, taking the wooden shack with it, Jack falls to the ground leaving her highness cast adrift.
Settling above the clouds at the foot of a mystical land of giants, a land that many had thought was only folklore was again at their door, but with it brought more peril than any sense of opportunity.
As the King’s army and the Princess’ future husband go up the beanstalk to try to save her, Jack talks his way into the party too, when it’s one of the travellers has an ulterior motive it’s not just the giants Jack has to content with, as he and the rest of the humans face a battle to save their homeland and cut the ties between land and the giants’ home in the sky once more.
Though the film is a little clichéd and relies heavily on the tried and trusted steps of kids’ action adventure films of the past, that’s not necessarily all a bad thing. Jack The Giant Slayer feels homely and familiar while Bryan Singer manages to bring his own style to the proceedings too.
The action is frenetic at times, and though poor CGI one the giants’ faces almost derails the whole thing, it’s not long before you get used to their look and it shouldn’t take you out of the film to any great degree. That the acting is very endearing and how well the obligatory love story works help out with that too.
However, the film does suffer from a misbalancing of the three acts. Singer can’t get you up the beanstalk fast enough and the film races through the first act before plodding excessively though the second and third without the snappiness it really needs. It isn’t such a big problem that kids will get bored, in fact this is one of the most universally entertaining films I can remember for quite a while, but it’s definitely an issue that could have been looked over a little more thoroughly in the editing room.
Jack The Giant Slayer is an entertaining family adventure, with moments of tension and humour in equal measure. At times the film needed to be treated with a little more c are but it’s one for both children and adults that’ll warm your heart, bring back memories of your youth and get your pulse racing with some breakneck action and genuine thrills.