Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-ray + DVD Review
Fairy tale adventure “Jack the Giant Slayer” comes to home video and Kidzworld checks it out.
By: Lynn Barker
Farm boy hooks up with rich princess. Yeah? Never happen. It does in the fun adventure/fantasy film Jack the Giant Slayer, which brings the classic fairy tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk” to life.
Jack climbs the giant beanstalk
Farmboy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) remembers an ancient tale of a band of man-eating giants banished to a land high above the Earth by a good king. At the same time, a queen tells her small princess daughter Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) that she can grow up to make a huge difference for her people.
Jack (Nicholas) and Isabelle (Eleanor) share a tender moment
Ten years later, now orphaned Jack is 18 and lives in poverty with an uncle who sends him to town to sell a horse and cart. While there, Jack saves a pretty girl from ruffians, realizing later that she was the princess Isabelle. The cart is stolen and he trades the horse to a monk escaping from evil royal advisor Roderick (Stanley Tucci). As payment, the monk leaves Jack a sack of beans telling him they are priceless. The bad guys capture and kill the monk when he won’t reveal where the beans are.
Jack vs. the giants
At home again, Jack drops a bean which rolls under the cottage. The rain causes it to grow very, very quickly. Doomed to marry the awful Roderick, Isabelle runs away and takes refuge in the storm at Jack’s small cottage. The magic beanstalk grows huge and bursts through the floor taking the entire house and Isabelle with it and knocking Jack to the ground below.
Evil Roderick (Stanley Tucci) and sidekick
Isabelle’s father the king (Ian McShane) sends Jack, along with dashing Elmont (Ewan McGregor) the captain of his royal guards and some of his men, climbing up the giant stalk to rescue the princess. Also along is Roderick who secretly has found a magic ancient crown to control the giants.
Isabelle's father the king (Ian McShane)
Once in the giants’ stronghold Gantua, the humans tangle with 25 foot tall giants and Jack tracks the princess to the giants’ meeting hall/prison. Roderick uses the magic crown and the giants are now his to control. Jack rescues Elmont and Isabelle and heads down the original beanstalk with her while Elmont stays behind to stop Roderick and get the crown back.
The stalk carries Isabelle away
Roderick orders the giants to attack the land below via several giant beanstalks that grow when he plants the beans he got from Jack. The king, thinking his daughter is already dead, starts chopping down the original stalk. Isabelle and Jack manage to survive its crash. The giants attack the castle. Will the good guys win?
The scary land of Gantua
Become a Giant Slayer – The big “making of” extra, hosted by star Nick Hoult but it’s presented like a game; can you climb to the top a big beanstalk without getting knocked off? On the way, you can click on various mini-extras:
Know Your Enemy – This extra focuses on the design of the giants in the film, their skin, clothes etc. We see motion capture used on set with various actors playing giants. Interesting.
Elmont, Isabelle and Jack prepare to fight
Suiting Up – Is the costume extra. The designer talks of creating an “ornate fairy tale” look. Nick talks about wearing a leather jacket based on his own jacket. Eleanor talks about her princess wardrobe etc. Fun.
Attack Tactics - We see the CGI of the final fight with the giants and Nick does stunts. The huge kitchen set is cool.
The Magic of a Beanstalk – We are on the stalk set at Jack’s farmhouse and we see how part of the big stalk existed on set and the rest was created in computer.
How to Zip – Nick and Ewan whip down a zip line hurtling from one on set stalk to another. Looks like fun.
Giants Kitchen – The scene in the giants’ kitchen is taken apart.. motion capture suits on some actors helped them plan how to do the scene later. Ewan McGregor is actually rolled up in a big, fake dough “blanket”. Funny
Saving the Princess – Nick relates his adventures trying to save Princess Isabelle, working against a big green screen and up on wires. Fun
Jack searches for Princess Isabelle
Defending Your Kingdom – We see the building of the big castle set and watch the courtyard assault being filmed. Actors talk about how great it was to have real sets and props to react to.
Reward – Now this is very cool! If you make it to the top of the stalk, you get shown a series of graphic novel-style illustrations under the telling of more of the giants vs. humans backstory. Good King Erik’s history as a boy etc. is explained. There is also a cut scene with Erik as a little boy. This is quite fun.
Heroes hatch a plan
Deleted Scenes – a different version of the origin story.. different drawings etc. , Jack finding a beanstalk bridge, more of the giants’ prison, Jack gives his uncle money and his home back. None really needed but nice to have.
Gag Reel – This blooper extra is tame but fun; malfunctions, props dropped etc. Best was a cat wrangler trying to get the cat to lick Jack’s face as he is lying passed out. You can hear the cat purr loudly throughout and Nick tries not to crack up. Very cute.
Jack the Giant Slayer joins the recent trend of bringing classic fairy tales to the screen and the “Jack and the Beanstalk” tale is filled with action, pretty awesome special effects and Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) makes a very strong (and cute) farmboy turned hero. Pretty Eleanor Tomlinson is both a regal princess and a strong kick-butt action heroine. Stanley Tucci is hilarious but still threatening as the evil Roderick and Ewan McGregor makes a very handsome and romantic soldier/hero.
Nick (Jack) and Eleanor (Isabelle) at the premiere
This combo set provides a complete look at the making of the film in short spurts and all the actors have quite a bit to say. There is no commentary by the director or actors but we see how things were done in detail and the “Reward” extra at the top of the beanstalk is worth the climb if you are into the story. You might get frustrated by the whole climb the beanstalk thing or it might be fun. At least it is a different way to present the extras. We’ll go 4 stars.
Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-ray + DVD Rating:
Jack the Giant Slayer cover art