I wish I could summon up more enthusiasm for Jack the Giant Slayer because it’s not a terrible film. There’s plenty of adventure, fun action, and good actors to make any subject matter lively. Unfortunately, all of those things are buried underneath the type of slick, bland filmmaking and unnecessary 3D Hollywood thinks will win over audiences. This lack of imagination and verve keep this jaunty simple adventure film from reaching any kind of height.
The film tells the story of Jack, a farm boy who is pretty down on his luck. His father, who used to read him stories about the giants during an exposition heavy prologue, is dead and his uncle has sent him in town to sell their last horse and cart. While in town, he has a chance encounter with two people: the headstrong princess and a priest who trades him some magic beans for his horse. The priest you see is being chased, and eventually captured by the king’s right hand man who has stolen the crown made from a giant’s heart that allows the crown wearer to control the giants of Gantua. When one of the magic beans gets wet and his house, carrying the princess, is swept up in the beanstalk, Jack embarks on an adventure that includes pissed off giants, valiant knights and a battle royale.
This script was so predictable that were I to go into detail you’d thought I was describing one of the many action adventure films you’ve seen already. Every note that you expect the screenplay to hit it does. The one major problem I had with this film is that it actively tried to seem like it wasn’t hitting these beats especially with regards to the princess. Why set this character up to be this strong-minded woman if only to have her just act like a damsel in distress and have Jack save the entire kingdom? It really sabotaged the performances of the lead actors having to deal with nothing but old stereotypes.
Jack the Giant Slayer also contains the laziest use of 3D I’ve seen in a while and is also being misleadingly sold as a family film and yet much of the action concerns giants eating people/stepping on people/throwing large objects at people. This film really is the encapsulation of what Hollywood is attempting to do right now with tent pole films, but without finding any new wrinkles or avenues to explore.