“Not another gritty fairy tale” Joel muttered under his breath while stroking his beard in disdain. Later, emerging from the darkened theatre, he announced unceremoniously “It could have been worse”, as he usually does after these films.
In a similar vein to the original fable, Jack is tasked with selling his uncle’s horse and cart in the town square, but after a series of events, Jack is given some mysterious beans by a monk who for some or other reason feels that Jack can be trusted. “Don’t get them wet” he says, but one evening, when the princess arrives at Jack’s home unannounced, that is precisely what happens.
Fans of re-imagined fairy tale films will get the most from this, but as is the case with the trend, these films are emotionally shallow, predictable to a fault, and have nothing that the truly separates them from the pack.
The Bottom Line
This gritty fairy tale adaptation trend is really beginning to annoy me, it’s not that it hasn’t gone away yet, it just refuses to die. Jack the Giant Slayer is another casualty in this fantasy sub-genre but admittedly it is far more enjoyable than the trailers make it out to be…and by that I mean you won’t be bored and feel like asking for a refund on your ticket purchase. Like other fairy tale re-imaginings, Jack is a significant departure from the original fable but retains it’s key plot devices (with the exception of the thievery).
The formula remains the same however and has been injected with obligatory action sequences and an uninspiring final battle that pretty much overwhelms all the preceding scenes. In 3-D, it all looks pretty good and for once the technology is used for gimmickry that it is and should be.
Where Jack is at its strength is in its heart – the characters are strong and genuine in their intents, not the flimsy type that we saw earlier in Snow White and the Huntsman. Ewan McGregor is always a pleasure to watch and as usual possesses the wit in this circus. Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t the failure that I had anticipated, but it isn’t a success either – the story is paper thin and the visuals leave much to be desired, especially the effects used for the giants that look extremely dated for a 2013 release. As usual, don’t expect any real moral backbone to the film, then again, the original story condoned burglary, breaking and entering, and murder…so this is far less exciting.