14 April 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer - Film

Running with the same theme as Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Jack the Giant Slayer is the retelling of the classic fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk. But don't expect talking harps and golden egg-laying geese, director Bryan Singer has done away with those and has replaced them with a princess and a team of guards.

Nicholas Hoult is yet again in the spotlight as the protagonist, Jack. You may have seen him recently in Warm Bodies, which satirised zombie films and Shakespearean tragedies to great acclaim. Either way, in both this film and the last, it was Nicholas Hoult that moulded the story into something really worth watching. Jack was not the idiotic farm boy in the story that we all know. Now he is a fairly lovestruck boy who, despite his fears, shows great courage. I think most people will enjoy the fact that he is no longer a thief and that he fights for not only the girl he loves, but for  the kingdom of Cloister as well.

The cast is utterly star-studded. This usually makes for either a great film or a really bad one. You will spot the likes of Ewan McGregor (who was actually my favourite actor in this film, his character was so likable and noble), Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci and Warwick Davis Even the vocal talents of Bill Nighy can be heard (remember him as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Carribean? Just stick that voice on a giant and leave out the strange snarly noises). Perhaps it was lucky that it wasn't filled with the biggest names, and that for the most part, the main characters were fairly unknown actors. I find that quite often having too many big names all competing can make the acting seem very shoddy.

The storyline is perfect. It had a great blend of action, romance and adventure, all set in a beautiful and sometimes surreal landscape. The costumes were well-designed and looked wonderful on the actors. The giants were exactly how you would expect them to be; humanoid but ugly, and very cannibalistic. A quick warning though on some of the effects. Children and adults may find them gruesome. There is a fair bit of death and destruction, but despite that the film has a surprising 12A rating.

The pure Britishness of the film cannot be denied; British actors, British story (did you know that originally Jack and the Beanstalk was set during the times of King Arthur and that he met him on his journey? No? I didn't either). I love that Bryan Singer (who, incidentally, is American) has picked up on this and done it justice.

This film is possibly more for children and teenagers than adults, but it is still good fun and I would recommend a watch at least once. Anyone who remembers that tale from their childhood and would like to see a nice twist on it will enjoy the story. In fact, there is a rather large twist at the end, where it all gets rather real. I am still unsure on whether I like it that way or not. But enough about that. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

Four out of five. A solid performance on everyones part.