Thursday, February 28, 2013
It’s fun to play along with Jack the Giant Slayer for a while, as it does have its charms as a slick Hollywood reinterpretation of the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairy tale.
Then we get this scene, which allows you to safely check out about 45 minutes in: After learning that giants will stop at nothing to once again rule the earth, Stanley Tucci’s Roderick finds himself surrounded by giants. They are so big, and so easily kill and eat humans without remorse, that mankind would have no defense against the gruesome ogres. And yet Roderick is able to put on a crown that was forged somewhere special and all of the sudden, the giants bow to him and treat him as their king. Wait, what?
If we’re supposed to believe the giants are desperate for world domination, it’s hard to swallow that they’ll let a silly crown get in their way. Here’s an idea: Flick Roderick away with your finger, take the crown and worship one of your own.
This crown calamity is worth mentioning because it also factors into the unsatisfying ending, which is a shame because some of the 3-D action and visual effects sequences are impressive. What’s more, the 3-D is crisp and clear, though it doesn’t offer much in terms of depth. If you do see it, regular 2-D should suit just fine.
IT NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE HOW MOVIES THAT UTILIZE SUCH ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR VISUAL APPEAL CAN SUCK SO ROYALLY IN TERMS OF BASIC STORYTELLING.
The story: A long time ago in a small English kingdom, teenage farm boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) comes upon some magic beans that get wet and grow into a beanstalk into the clouds. In Jack’s beanstalk as it rises high in the sky is Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson). Still on the ground, King Brahmwell sends Jack and guardians Elmont (Ewan McGregor), Crawe (Eddie Marsan), Roderick and others up the beanstalk to rescue Isabelle. In the clouds they meet CGI-created giants named General Fallon (Bill Nighy) and his minions Fee (Cornell John), Fye (Andrew Brooke), Foe (Angus Barnett) and Fumm (Ben Daniels, House Of Cards), all of whom wish to reclaim the kingdom as their own.
Tomlinson is a bit bland for a female lead, but more damaging is the storyline that noticeably deviates from the famous fairy tale and yet remains 100-percent predictable. It never ceases to amaze how movies that utilize such advanced technology for visual appeal can suck so royally in terms of basic storytelling. It’s not asking much to keep things interesting while giants fling burning trees into a castle, or to give a star like McGregor more to do than be a third wheel.
Box office tracking numbers suggest Jack the Giant Slayer’s opening weekend will be a weak $30 million or so (the budget was roughly $190 million) – not a good sign for Singer, who started his career with The Usual Suspects and X2 and lately has given us drivel like this movie and Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie. Here’s hoping he returns to form soon.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (2) • Directed by Bryan Singer •Starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor • Rated PG • 114 min •At Century Cinemas Del Monte, Lighthouse Cinemas, Maya Cinemas, Northridge Cinemas, Cannery Row XD.