I Smell the Blood of a Cash Grab

Cameron Hines

Hollywood has had a love recently for adapting classic children’s tales into horrible blockbusters (Snow White and the Huntsman and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). Now, under the direction of Bryan Singer, the newest has arrived titled Jack the Giant Slayer, featuring some magic beanstalks, ravenous giants and Ian McShane as a king who dresses like a giant golden egg.

Nicholas Hoult plays the title character, a peasant boy wishing to fight in the king’s army. Then one day he goes to the market, sells his horse for magic beans, and meets the beautiful Princess Isabelle. He returns home to shame from his uncle for selling the horse for beans, when along comes Isabelle who’s tired of the drudgery and dullness of being a princess.

When the beans accidentally get planted, well, we all know what happens next. Isabelle is captured, and it is up to a search party consisting of Hoult, Isabelle’s fiancée played by an always welcome Stanley Tucci, and Ewan McGregor.

There, they reawaken a long-time feud that exists between the giants and humans. McGregor plays a character very reminiscent of Obi Wan, but his one-lines have improved since then. Newcomer Eleanor Tomlison is very likeable and beautiful as Isabelle. Hoult is able to channel the typical “peasant-becomes-hero” persona. Though he doesn’t bring anything new to the table, he does an admirable job

The film is pretty cookie cutter, doesn’t take any risks and is quite predictable, but it is aided by some great action sequences from director Bryan Singer. However, the dull special effects hold back the film. The giants are bland and unrealistic-looking, but wow does the beanstalk look magnificent.

The film is ultimately hindered by its juvenile sensibility. Many of the jokes play to a 13-year-old crowd, but the searing and some rather explicit scenes of violence seem to contradict the fact that this movie seems more for the younger demographic. Jack the Giant Slayer certainly isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s good fun popcorn fare.