The Movie: Inspired by the classic fairy tale about a boy and a beanstalk, Jack the Giant Slayer stars Nicholas Hoult as an awkward teenager whose trip to the local market sets forth a series of remarkable events the culminate in the adventure of a lifetime. Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but he also encounters a beautiful, rebellious princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) with an overprotective father (Ian McShane), a crooked royal advisor (Stanley Tucci), and a courageous swordsman (Ewan McGregor, with meticulously sculpted facial hair).
There’s almost nothing original about Jack the Giant Slayer – even Bill Nighy, who portrays the leader of the giant race, is recycling the same voice he used as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (but to be fair, that voice is still pretty awesome). The film tries to walk the line between goofy, light-hearted family fare like The Princess Bride and epic adventures like the Lord of the Rings series, but its refusal to commit itself fully to one or the other results in a lot of aimless meandering.
The blend of motion capture and CG used to create the giants produces stunning results, and there’s no doubt that Bryan Singer has directed a great-looking film, but beyond the visuals there’s little praise to be heaped upon Jack the Giant Slayer. It’s not the worst high-profile film of Singer’s career (that honor belongs to Superman Returns), but it’s far from his best work, either.
- The Good: Great-looking CG. Ewan McGregor’s mustache. Bill Nighy’s voice.
- The Bad: Underdeveloped characters. Uneven tone. Too long.
- The Verdict: The action and visuals are more than enough to keep young children entertained, but adults will likely struggle to remain interested in this one.