Monday, July 22, 2013

Review 188: "Jack the Giant Slayer"

"Here comes the thunder."

Another One Bites the Dust

      In a trend I accidentally fell into, here's yet another movie that bombed at the box office this year. Made for $200 million dollars and earning just $198 million dollars, the film was also not a particular critical success. But hey, I am a fan of Bryan Singer, so once again, I ask, did this box office bomb deserve better? Well, to be honest, yeah, a little bit. Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) and written by Darren Lepke (Turbo), Christopher McQuarrie (The Wolverine) and Dan Studney (Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical) and follows Jack (Nicholas Hoult) as he joins King's Guard soldier Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and villainous Roderick (Stanley Tucci) to rescue princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) and bring her back to her father, the King (Ian McShane) safely. Golly, haven't heard that one before.

See, he has too.
Back, Story!

      Jack the Giant Slayer reminds me quite a bit of last year's Mirror, Mirror. A modern telling of a fairy-tale set in fairy-tale accurate times with goofy humor, slapstick comedy and a serious story all done in an attempt at style. Jack, however, thankfully is better than the that other mess of a movie. Though, don't get me wrong, Jack is still a mess all of it's own, but it a fun mess. The biggest problem with Jack is that is features a clashing of ideas that don't really seem to go together. The story is a very generic one, though with a few surprises thrown in. Some characters die before you'd expect and the whole movie does a false wrap up before getting to the real climax, which would be more of a surprise if it wasn't shown in every trailer for this movie. However, it doesn't feel generic by design. It feels like something went wrong when they wrote the script. There's a oddly convoluted backstory about the giants and the magic MacGuffin that can save the kingdom and then there's this story that just flops around on the ground, checking off every cliche you'd except in this type of movie.

Goof Troop

      However, the film does have a saving grace. It's just so damn goofy. I honestly had more fun watching this movie than I did watching all of RED 2 or Turbo and those both were ones I saw in theaters. I felt like I was watching an older movie. Which, granted, would have been one shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but still, there is a fun silliness to the movie. Some actors play it straight, like the fine main lead of Hoult and Tomlinson. McGregor and Tucci are both acting like they are in a campy film. which honestly is what this film is. The giants are badly CGI-ed, but again, it just kinda adds to the fun. It's not that it's so-bad-it's-good, it's just that the film comes across as exactly the kind a chessy, but fun movie that Mirror, Mirror failed to be last year. Yes, that does means it's great, or even really all that good, but it still is a lot of fun. Plus, a possible sequel hook at the end could make for a sequel I'd actually want to watch. 

When bad CGI attacks, nobody wins.
The Verdict

      Granted, being good in a chessy, goofy kinda way isn't really what movies want to be known for, that exactly what Jack the Giant Slayer is. It's a fun, goofy and over-the-top modern fairy-tale with enough good actors in the roles and some interesting ideas that can overshadow the film's awfully generic story. You don't really need to turn your brain off for this one, but still, anyone looking for a serious action movie here should look somewhere else. People looking for a fun, silly way to kill a couple of hours should look no further. Jack the Giant Slayer gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.


  1. The Undefined GamerJuly 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Four Words: Days of Future's Past

    1. Yes, awesome. But what exactly about it, old friend?