I got tickets to Jack the Giant Slayer last night and decided to chance it. It stars that cute kid from About a Boy, but (surprise!) he’s all grown up. It also stars Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci. What’s not to love? Well, as it turns out, there’s plenty to not love, but there’s also plenty to like, and I left the theatre generally satisfied.
To give a brief summary: Jack is a great family film, showcasing a young David battling a team of Goliaths, a true rags-to-riches story, and cliché cliché cliché. It really is everything you would expect. The plot follows a poor farm boy who accidentally sells his horse for beans. MAGIC beans. Then there’s a princess, some giants, and the happiest of endings. It draws direct inspiration from the famed fable of Jack and the beanstalk, but instead of imparting a useful moral like “If you’re greedy and steal the golden egg, a giant lady will attack you,” the movie leads with “Dream big and you’ll get all of your heart’s desires”. Not a bad moral, but one you’ve seen a million times.
However, I really did enjoy the movie, and I think kids will love it. There’s a good deal of action, a smattering of quotable lines, and a dash of romance. To make it simple, let me just list the worst and the best.
WORST: The plot. It’s a bit too contrived. Not bad, but not great, and the middle ground can often be the worst place to be. ALSO, the bathroom jokes. I never enjoy them, but I suspect that kids will love them.
BEST: Ewan McGregor’s hair. Really, it’s fantastic. And so is he. As a whole, the cast does well. Nicholas Hoult as Jack also further cements his standing as Hollywood’s new “It” boy.
The clever ending (mini-twist, if you will) is also interesting. It doesn’t quite make up for how obvious the rest of the film plays, but you leave the theatre in a fun spirit.
So kudos to filmmakers for making a fun, family movie. Don’t spend money on the 3D version –the extra dimension doesn’t add much. Take your little cousins, siblings, children as an outing (not TOO little – maybe 9 and above). If you’re a grown-up yourself, wait till the DVD.
For Jack, I would pay a total of $4. Interpret as you will.