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Movie Review

Jack the Giant Slayer also known as “Jack, o Caçador de Gigantes,” “Jack, el cazagigantes,” “Il cacciatore di giganti,” “ Jack - O Matador de Gigantes,” “ Jack - pogromca olbrzymów,” “ Jack El Caza Gigantes,” “ Jack and the Giants,” “ Jack le tueur de géants,” “ Jack si uriasii,” working title: “Jack the Giant Killer”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language

Reviewed by: Tober Corrigan
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens
Genre:
Adventure Romance Fantasy Drama 3D IMAX
Length:
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
March 1, 2013 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
DVD: May 28, 2013
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures

giants in the Bible

Goliath

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

courage / bravery / self-sacrifice

Featuring: Nicholas Hoult … Jack
Ewan McGregorElmont
Stanley TucciLord Roderick
Bill NighyGeneral Fallon
Warwick Davis
Ian McShaneKing Brahmwell
Eleanor Tomlinson … Princess Isabelle
Ewen Bremner
Eddie Marsan
more »
Director: Bryan Singer
Producer: New Line Cinema
Legendary Pictures
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures

“Fee-fi-fo-fum.” This iconic line from the classic tale of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk opens this strange piece of derivative fantasy. The story follows the young commoner Jack, who happens upon those magical beans that have the ability to create a giant beanstalk connecting Earth to the realm of the giants. Along the way, Jack makes friends with the princess of the city, Isabelle, and some of the King’s top men. The duration of the film plays out as a fast-paced race to save the princess, stop the giants, save the city, etc., etc. Nothing here is really new.

Overall, this movie is an extremely mild (at least by today’s standards) PG-13. Yet, in an attempt to attain that wide Lord of the Rings-ish fan base, the film also markets itself as a movie for young and old. I simply find this movie too grotesque to be seen by children. People are eaten, mutilated, thrown around, stabbed, and beaten up consistently throughout. Admittedly, most of these actions are only implied, sometimes seeing only a bloodless aftermath. This desensitized portrayal of “clean” violence, as if there was such a thing, could prove just as dangerous to the young viewer. Besides the gratuitous cartoon violence and the use of “p—- off” and “b—tard,” sexual and drug content is nearly nonexistent.

Outside of strict content, there is some potentially troubling mythology at play here, which could prove frustrating. In the opening montage, retelling an ancient “myth,” monks are depicted as dabbling into dark magic in order to conquer the giants. Overall, monks, the only representative of spirituality/religion in the movie, are depicted as suspicious and perhaps, a little shallow. This is a very minor dig on what is a rather subtle part of the movie, but for some reason, besides how derived the mythology comes off as, the thin line established between Christianity and dark magic was a little frightening.

As for moviemaking quality, the story is abysmally generic. Every beat is exactly as one would imagine it, the visual cues are overtly on-the-nose, and any sense of adventure is, for the most part, sucked away by the lack of originality at play. Fortunately for the viewer, everyone else working on the project is giving it their all. The film is sufficiently directed by the always-reliable Bryan Singer. The confident sense of scope in the production design and visual effects were admirable enough to keep me interested in the action long after the story had allowed for caring. The cast does the best with the little to nothing they are given. Ewan McGregor, though way out of place with his spiky hair and modern sensibilities, nevertheless adds charm and fun to the lifeless adventure. Stanley Tucci twirls that mustache well as the typecast villain. And perhaps the actor who adds the most to his role, Ian McShane, is shamefully underused. Even the most memorable part of the movie, John Ottman’s lively musical cues, still felt like just another score attempting to recapture the magic of Howard Shore’s work on Lord of the Rings.

In conclusion, I can fail to recommend this movie either for moviemaking quality or content, simply because I have no idea who this is supposed to appease. The film is too liberal in its use of violence for young kids, yet the script is much too dull and predictable for even the average teenager to appreciate. One could do much better, and yet, when seeing the other films currently playing at the multiplexes, one could also do much worse.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—What is wrong with this movie that audiences seem to be ignoring it? I don’t know, and, frankly, it’s kind of sad, considering the budget and talent involved. It’s nice to see some relatively unknown actors have a chance at the big screen, along the likes of better known and successful thespians. This film is living proof that there’s “no part too small” for a great actor, and, although not everyone lasts for long, they entertain, divert, and amuse us along the way.

The script drags a little in places, but also has wonderful moments of humor (even if it can be a little juvenile at times), and the main characters are all likable. One of the better offerings in a recent slew of “fairy tales revised,” it’s cleaner than “Red Riding Hood,” and far less violent than “Hansel and Gretel…,” but still a bit grisly in places. For a film I initially had no interest in, thanks in part to dismal marketing, it was a frolicking good time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Charity, age 29 (USA)
Positive—Did anyone get it? Besides it’s wonderfully minimized profanity and sexual contents, did anyone catch the true essence of the movie? The first time when Jack thought people in the theater were bowing down to him, it was not because what he had done protecting the princess. It was the royalties who were behind him! The second time when the giant is bowing down before Elmont and the king, it was not because the war they had fought. It was the crown that was behind them, and the crown was graciously fallen into Jack’s hands by him slaying the giant with a small bean. There is no way that we can have any victory in life without the crown and God standing behind us covering our backs.

And we will never obtain the crown without receiving the seed (Jesus) which only grows with water (Holy Spirit). I enjoyed the special effects (except couple of dragging romantic scenes between Jack and the princess) and appreciated that this movie put me again in the right perspective of who I am and who God is. It will be a great family movie for entertainment and opportunity to share the gospel with others.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—I-ting Chu, age 53 (USA)
Positive—It is rare today to get a movie out of a non-christian source with language this mild, which was refreshing. The sexual content was pretty much zero; the only thing, at all, was a kiss. The captain of the guard was undeniably loyal and of good character. It was unusual to see a character so good (yes, he was a bit flat, but that is only because he was undeniably good to the point of being predictable. I think we need some real character in people today like this.

Daniel in the Old Testament was a real life character, so good that he was very predictable, and that landed him in the lion’s den and back out again.) without him being the main character.

The giants were indeed pretty scary for young children, but what would have been bloody scenes occurred off screen. The main characters were refreshingly honest and good, though Jack had more character growth during the movie.

The villains were undeniably evil, and that fact made them frightening for small children, but I think anyone else won’t have a problem. Anyhow I would say that, overall, the movie was a good and surprisingly clean one, suitable for most, except small children. I think anyone else could enjoy the movie, as long as they didn’t analyze overly much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Arthur, age 41 (USA)
Positive—A generally fun and (excluding the very young—perhaps the 7 and under crowd) family-friendly movie. Jaded teens might not admit to enjoying it (but probably will anyway), and everyone else should have a good time. Sure it’s predictable and formulaic, but the action/humor/special effects are all good. Combined with a refreshing lack of the usual Hollywood objectionableness, this yields a thumbs up from me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jeremy Klein, age 57 (USA)
Positive—…this movie is great for the whole family. I guess kids under 12, some parents should understand there are ugly large giants in this film that are not too friendly, but true to the real story that all children through history that have been told by their parents, know full well, that them giants love to eat tasty humans. That story, back then, did not send children to mental hospitals… Great special CGI special effects. Great acting in this one with believable characters you could get behind. A lovely feminine princess and a young dashing poor young man that destiny will soon change. Of course, I will recommend this fairy tale to all to see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Robert Garcia, age 65 (USA)
Positive—I like 3D movies, if they are done well, and this one was, in my opinion. The special effects were good, also. I actually enjoyed it better than the OZ movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Howard, age 68 (USA)
Positive—I generally liked this movie. I thought it was an interesting twist on the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fable that I enjoyed hearing as a kid. I agree that some of the scenes may be too scary for smaller children to view, although I do appreciate the director’s or film editor’s choice to limit a few of the more potentially graphic scenes involving giants and humans to our imaginations.

I do disagree with the reviewer’s comment that the monks were “the only representatives of spirituality/religion.” As a viewing Christian, there were three important scenes for me: first, Princess Isabelle, held captive in a seemingly hopeless situation, acknowledges her belief in God when challenged to do so by Fallon, the two-headed leader of the Giant realm; second, when Elmont prays over the grave of his friend and fellow knight, Crawe, who had been slain by the giants, a grave marked with sticks in the shape of a cross. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Dave, age 56 (USA)
Positive—I just watched “Jack The Giant Slayer,” after receiving it as a Christmas present. Let me just say, the reviewer is completely wrong, in my opinion. I thought this movie was a work of sheer brilliance. It was action-packed, beautiful to look at, and, most unexpectedly, quite funny. A welcome relief, after being sorely disappointed in several of the past attempts Hollywood has made at the fantasy-adventure genre.

However, as thoroughly amazing as this movie is, there is some relatively minor content to be aware of. The worst of which is the violence. Although, compared to most adventure films recently, it’s very mild. You do see people being stabbed, beaten up, and shot with arrows. But, for the most part, there is no blood shown. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jared Barton, age 33 (USA)
Positive—…I like to comment from a parent’s perspective. I LOVED this movie. Yes, it was predictable, but it was a clean movie with high morals and even a tiny bit of disgusting humor that (older) children would enjoy (like a giant eating a booger as he prepares a meal of live pigs in blankets of dough, a giant whose eye pops out of its head as he’s smashed, and a giant who passes gas as he’s sleeping). This is a movie about humility, honor, love, sacrifice and defending the ones you love. The good guys win, just like in the classic storybook version. It’s a MUST SEE! I’d recommend this movie for anyone over about age 8.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Chrystal, age 37 (USA)
Negative

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