Evidently made for no other reason than to cash in on the current trend of revisionist storybook fantasies, Jack the Giant Slayer, directed by The Usual Suspects’ Bryan Singer, is a mostly forgettable adventure based on the popular children’s folktale, Jack and the Beanstalk. As many as three screenwriters are responsible for this overstuffed script, that recycles too many familiar plotlines, never succeeding in creating anything significantly original.
Set in medieval times, the film sees orphaned farm boy Jack (Nichoas Hoult) setting off on a quest to rescue a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson), when a magic bean in his possession accidentally sprouts and unearths a monstrous stalk that sends the young princess skywards, to a land of nasty giants. Jack, however, isn’t alone on this rescue mission: The princess’ father, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane), has deployed his best men to bring back his daughter. These include Roderick (Stanley Tucci), the princess’ shifty fiance, and Elmont (Ewan McGregor), the King’s top knight.
It’s easy to see why the film doesn’t work despite some impressive action scenes and the meticulously rendered CGI vistas. The characters, unfortunately, are as compelling as a bowl of stale oats, which makes it hard for you to care for them. Doesn’t help that the giants too have no character; they look suspiciously similar to the trolls in Peter Jackson’s recent “Hobbit” installment, and to be honest they don’t inspire much dread.
The film’s final act, in which the giants climb down the beanstalk and storm the kingdom, is occasionally thrilling, but it’s too little too late.
Jack the Giant Slayer is a bonafide bore; I’m going with two out of five.