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Jack the Giant Slayer Review

Posted by on February 27, 2013

When it was announced that Hollywood was going to turn the folktale “Jack and the Beanstalk” into a feature length film, like everyone else I was a bit skeptical about its success. However, once The Usual Suspects and X-Men director Bryan Singer was attached to direct the picture, I definitely was a little intrigued and even a bit hopeful that this adaptation could be something worth watching. Alas, this isn’t the case. Jack the Giant Slayer is just the latest in a string of fairy tale/folktale stories that we heard as kids turned into a just okay movie.

The core problem with Jack the Giant Slayer is that nothing really stands out to grab you. Not the story, not the acting, not the visuals, nothing. While there are some exciting moments and a few times where integrations of practical effects and CGI are pretty cool, there are not enough moments like these to sustain the entire film. With nothing to really latch onto, at no point was I ever really blown away or heavily invested in what was going on in the film.

What really stood out to me though was the terrible CGI used to create the “look” of the giants. Designed a little cartoon-ish and cavemen-like, they did not look great at all and came off looking cheap. Being a fantasy film, one with the word “Giant” in the title, it’s a given that there will have to be some suspension of disbelief on behalf of the viewer. No amount of this could help me believe in these unrealistic giants, not even Bill Nighy, whose menacing voice was used for the lead giant.


I guess what it boils down to was that the giants looked like poorly animated characters from a bad Saturday morning cartoon. Their looks did not hint at any of the reported $195 million dollar budget that this film is carrying. I know that most viewers can spot visual effect magic a mile a way, but there are awesome examples of great CGI characters in bad films like the Tharks in last year’s John Carter or even Jar Jar Binks back in the Star Wars prequels.

On the positive side there are some bright spots to Jack the Giant Slayer. As I previously mentioned, there’s some good integration between set work and visual effects work, most notably in places where the beanstalk is involved. There were a few reminders of Honey I Shrunk the Kids more than a few times as our heroes were climbing the beanstalk–which I loved. Also, in a few scenes where the beanstalk is coming down I thought there was some great action there as well between real life actors, animals, practical beanstalk props, and the visual effects.


While Nicholas Hoult was “warm” and affectionate in his last outing Warm Bodies, he did not bring anything to the table this time around. The highlight of the entire film had to have been Ewan McGregor. Having proven his blue and green screen acting chops with the Star Wars prequels, he looked the most believable out of all the actors in the film. In fact, McGregor was chewing on scenery a number of times and looked to be having fun doing so. I enjoyed his character the most and was entertained almost every time he was on screen.

When it comes right down to it, Bryan Singer was in a tough spot when he took over production on Jack the Giant Slayer from the original director, the effects of which can still be felt in the film that is now in theaters. Tonally, I’m not sure who the right audience for the film is, and I’m not sure the film does either. Sure, it has some great action sequences and some funny lines, but it also has crude humor that got old after a while as well as crummy-looking giants. While Jack the Giant Slayer is not a bad movie, it might be more of a mediocre one. For the man that made us fearful of Keyser Söze and jump-started the superhero genre, this film is more in line with Superman Returns and Valkyrie–films of his that no one hardly mentions anymore.

Jack the Giant Slayer gets 2 out of 5 stars.

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Jack the Giant Slayer Review, 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
  • Paul Curtin

    I was kinda looking forward to this since the giants reminded me of the ones from The Hobbit and there hasn’t been anything else good in theaters that justifies spending $15 a ticket… Netflix it is :(

  • Vinnie Leduc

    I thought the trailers and ads for this movie were pretty underwhelming, so I didn’t expect much from it. I gotta agree with most of what was said in the review. Hoult seemed to still have traces of lifeless zombie in him. I had trouble staying awake for the first hour, but the last half hour of battling was surprisingly entertaining. Great 3D, too. Personally, I’d give it 2.5 stars. Hey, Singer, how about a super deluxe unrated director’s cut??? lol

    • Bryan Singer


    • Paul Curtin

      Yeah, I wasn’t impressed by any of the trailers either, but I thought some of the billboards made the giants look interesting and I’ve been looking for a reason to drop cash at the theaters. Still haven’t found one recently. :(

      • Vinnie Leduc

        OZ tonight, Paul. See ya there! lol nah. Side Effects if you can still find a theater it’s playing in. You’re probably waiting for Joe 2, but some of the TV spots for Olympus Has Fallen the week before look pretty sick!

        • Paul Curtin

          Nah, wait for Side Effects on Netflix for sure. Feel about as pumped for Oz as Jack, probably some interesting visuals, but the rest I could care less about.

          I’m also not sold on Olympus Has Fallen, seems too generic. But I’m hyped for both the next Rock movies, Joe 2 and Fast 6. Glad the video game industry is kicking into full gear right now to hold me over until the good movies start hittin’ this spring.

          • Vinnie Leduc

            You forgot about the trifecta-completing PAIN & GAIN! haha

          • Paul Curtin

            Ohh damn, I did. Got distracted by all the extra explosions and extra numbers after the titles. That’s my most anticipated out of all three! Haha have to add it to our Coming Soon section so I won’t forget again.

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