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Jack The Giant Slayer Movie Review

Reviewed by on Mar 01, 2013
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld checks out “Jack the Giant Slayer”, the new Nicholas Hoult film based on a classic fairy tale.

By: Lynn Barker

If you were a poor farm boy, would you ever dream you could hook up with a beautiful, rich princess? Jack is doing the “I’m not worthy” dance until he gets the chance to take on a land of giants, save the feisty princess he loves and become the hero his people deserve.

Jack on the giant beanstalkJack on the giant beanstalk

The Legend

As a small farmboy, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) remembers his mom reading to him an ancient tale of a band of man-eating giants banished to a land high above the Earth by a good king who protected the beans that could grow a beanstalk bridge to their land and controlled the giants with a magic crown. When he died, the beans and crown were buried with him. 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.

Funny but scary giant guardFunny but scary giant guard

Ten Years Later

Jack is 18 and his parents have passed on. He lives with his ungrateful uncle who constantly puts him down. He sends Jack to town with his family horse and cart to sell. Jack loves the horse and is sad. While in the village Jack saves a pretty girl from ruffians. He realizes later that she was the princess Isabelle. While off on his rescue, his cart was stolen and nobody wants to buy his older horse.

The Bad Guys

Jack trades the horse to a monk running from evil royal advisor Roderick (Stanley Tucci’s) men. Instead of money, the monk leaves Jack a sack of beans telling him they are priceless and to bring them to the abbey for protection. The bad guys capture and kill the monk when he won’t reveal where the beans are.

Evil Roderick and sidekickEvil Roderick and sidekick

The Farm and the Beanstalk

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 two discover they have a love of adventure in common and feel a mutual attraction. 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.

Jack and Isabelle get closerJack and Isabelle get closer

Jack to the Rescue

Isabelle’s father the king (Ian McShane) finds the stalk and Jack and sends the boy, 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 the magic ancient crown to control the giants. He cuts a rope, supporting several of the royal guards, claiming it just snapped.

Elmont, Isabelle and Jack celebrate a brief victoryElmont, Isabelle and Jack celebrate a brief victory

In Giant-Sized Trouble

Once in the giants’ stronghold Gantua, the humans tangle with 25 foot tall giants and Roderick demands Jack give him the rest of the magic beans or he’ll make sure Jack’s uncle dies. Jack saves one bean. Roderick and men go one way and Jack, Elmont and a guard go another. Jack follows a trail left by the captured princess and everyone but Jack ends up as prisoners in the giants’ stronghold. Roderick uses the magic crown and the giants are now his to control.  Jack manages to rescue Elmont and Isabelle after Elmont is rolled in pastry and almost baked by a gross, giant chef!

The good guys face the giantsThe good guys face the giants

Escape and the Battle

Roderick orders the giants to attack the land below via the several giant beanstalks that grow when he dumps the beans in a stream. While Jack and Isabelle head back down the original beanstalk, Elmont stays behind to stop Roderick and get the crown back. Will he succeed? Below, the king, thinking his daughter is already dead, starts chopping down the original stalk. Isabelle and Jack manage to survive its crash. All flee to the castle with the feisty princess now in her own battle armor.

The giants attack the castle, their general who now wears the magic crown as a ring, manages to swim under a moat of fire ending up inside. Can the good guys hold the giants off and regain the crown? Will the king ever see Jack as the right man for his daughter?

The giant general wears the crown as a ringThe giant general wears the crown as a ring

Wrapping Up

Joining the recent trend of bringing classic fairy tales to the screen, this “Jack and the Beanstalk” tale is filled with action, pretty awesome special effects (especially in 3D) and actors who take their fairy tale character roles seriously, thus making us believe as well.

Nick Hoult makes a very strong (and cute) farmboy turned hero and the actor makes the transition believable. Hoult has a strength under the surface that you can accept once he’s faced with a challenge. Beautiful yet strong and athletic Eleanor Tomlinson makes both a lovely, regal princess and a strong kick-butt action heroine. Stanley Tucci is both hilarious and threatening as the evil Roderick and Ian McShane is both very strong and finally loving as the king. Ewan McGregor makes a very handsome and romantic soldier/hero who might have had a chance with the princess had Jack not come along.

The key players posterThe key players poster

The plot follows and expands upon the familiar fairy tale. It’s simplistic with no real surprises.. except for a modern and a bit confusing ending, but the theme will inspire you; any of us, no matter what our humble beginnings, can face our fears and be a hero. It’s “Cinderella” in reverse with poor boy Jack gaining the love and respect of a princess.

The cast appears to be having a blast making the film and you’ll have fun watching it. The special effects, gorgeous locations and CGI-created creatures and environments are eye-popping.  Check it out with the whole family.  For a very good popcorn-munching time at the movies, we’ll go 4 out of 5 stars.

Jack The Giant Slayer Movie Rating: 4