Movie Review: “Jack The Giant Slayer”- A Bad Seed

Written by Tommy March 13, 2013

This film was a major disappointment to me. I was going in expecting it to be enjoyably terrible, but it ended up being semi-okay. What a rip-off. That doesn’t mean I recommend it though. There’s an actual good, fun, fantasy movie in here somewhere, but it’s surrounded by a cluster of Hollywood junk. This movie is everything that is wrong with modern cinema. We couldn’t just tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, oh no! Just one giant? Try a thousand giants. One beanstalk? Fire whoever suggested that. We need FIVE! Then have a beanstalk EXPLODE out of a dude! You guys work out the rest; I’ll be busy doing cocaine off of an IMAX camera lens.

So yea, the story. Jack, magic beans, beanstalk, gotta rescue a princess from a giant. Quest happens.

Jack The Giant Slog. That was pretty good.

Let’s start off with what I like about it: it tells a story fairly well, mostly. Why mostly? Well the actual Jack and the Beanstalk part is pretty good. You have a well established villain who you wanna see lose; you have your every-man hero; there’s fun hyjinks, and things that are set up early on in the story come back to pay off at the end. It’s a reasonably enjoyable little film. I think the saving grace of this movie is how it has fun with the fantasy element. Think The Princess Bride” rather than “The Lord of the Rings” in that it understands that it’s okay to have movies that have some levity rather than intense action all the time. If it had ended when the beanstalk stuff is over, I would have recommended it wholeheartedly.

But it doesn’t.

I pride myself on not spoiling much about movies, but you kinda have to in order to fully articulate just how awful the last bit of the movie is. Most of this has just been a fun little adventure, and it concludes reasonably well. Then, someone kicked in the door to the  writing room and said “We need some radical scenes to put in the trailer! Force in an epic battle somewhere!” The whole movie has been zany schlock fun up until then, so when they ham-handedly try to make it “Lord of the Rings” style awesome battle stuff, it just doesn’t fit. The last act of this movie is so utterly pointless, stupid, and out of place that, even after seeing it, I still can’t be sure if it actually happened. It almost completely ruins an otherwise okay film. Ugh.

You call THIS fantasy? What do you think this is, a children’s fairy tale?

Another problem I have is with the special effects. They are sometimes okay, but there’s some really, really, awful green screen usage going on here. Like, almost to the point where it looks like those videos where you super-impose your face onto a guy doing a funny dance. Hilarious? Obviously. Effective technique for a major motion picture? Unfortunately no.

Jack The Giant Sexist. Nice, two for two.

Lastly, I have to take special issue with the treatment of the princess in this film. I wouldn’t normally make note of it, since having a damsel in distress thing is completely ubiquitous, but this one is special. See, her goal as a character is to prove that “princesses don’t have to be protected” and that she isn’t fragile, and so on.  It’s this idea that leads to her getting captured by giants, and that’s fine. It’s okay for a character to be weak at first if they grow and change by the end of the story. The story implies this change all throughout the film, that she is gonna prove her worth and that she isn’t weak etc. They even give her a cool suit of armor with no stupid boob-cups on it! Spoilers: She never does anything the entire film. At all. The whole time I was going “annnnd NOW she’s gonna save the day. No? Okay how abouuuuut NOW!” and it never happened. This is all compounded by the fact that the movie spent her entire plot going “She’s gonna be awesome soon, just trust me! PSYCH! Women suck, loser” and then the movie started posting on Reddit. I have lost my train of thought.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Jack The Giant… I got nothing.

Jack the Giant Slayer was a roller coaster of emotion. At first I was disappointed that it was so competent, then I was hopeful that it would actually be good, and then I was disappointed again that it so detested the idea of telling a simple, charming story. I can’t recommend you go out of your way to see it, but if you ever happen to wake up in a theater covered in blood and with no memory of the last 48 hours, then stay through the whole thing. It’s okay. Wait wait… Jack The Giant Letdown! Still got it.

My Rating: 6/10



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What a Cool Guy.

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