Title: Jack and the Beanstalk
Starring: Christopher Lloyd, Katey Sagal, Chloe Moretz, Chevy Chase, James Earl Jones (voice of)
Directed by: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Written by: Flip Kobler & Cindy Marcus (screenplay)
Studio: Screen Media Films
Runtime: 94 minutes
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Most of us all know the story of Jack and Beanstalk. A kid learns what it means to become a hero by planting beans, only to find that the beans grow to be a sky scrapping beanstalk, and he must climb to the top of it where he faces his greatest danger ever.
Jack (Colin Ford) is a young boy in a town of all the fairy tales you can think of; Little red riding hood, Cinderella's step sisters, sleeping beauty, etc. In school each student's homework is to do what they are meant to do. For example, sleeping beauty is meant to sleep, so her homework is to sleep, and so on. Jack has only figured out that he is to be a hero, but he doesn't know how, and he is teacher (Lloyd) tells him he has the weekend to finish his homework, be a hero, with proof or he will fail the class.
Jack starts to ask around town what it means to be a hero, the mayor tells him that true heroes make great sacrifices. But Jack did not know what it meant to sacrifice, until he is told it is when you give up your greatest possession to help someone else. Across the street is a pawnshop, Jack figures this is the best place to make his sacrifice. Begging the store owner not to give him what his item is worth, and to trade for something less valuable, Jack receives three beans. After coming home to tell his mom that he made a sacrifice, he finds his mother is without a job, and the only way to support his mother and him would be to sell his possession he had that he just traded for beans. Angry about his decision he gets ride of the beans by throwing them out the window, where the family goose sneaks a bite of one of the three beans. Hours later, Jack is awoken by the family goose, Grayson (Gilbert Gottfried) who is now human height, with a human head, and thumbs, which Grayson is very excited about.
Jack and Grayson make their journey to the top of the beanstalk, only to find out that Jack's heroic act is to happen up there. They find out that the evil giant (Jones) kidnapped an old man's granddaughter and turned her into a harp! Jack and Grayson start to make their way through a maze before the giant's castle, but quickly face many trials. This is when Jillian makes an appearance and rescues the two from some of the protectors. Jillian helps Jack and Grayson as they finally arrive to the castle, only to find out though that Jillian had tricked them. She wasn't there to help them, she was there to trick them, and was working for the giant all along.
But Jack and Grayson aren't the only ones who were tricked, Jillian was tricked by the giant and is thrown into a holding cell with Jack. Grayson at this point learns he can lay golden eggs, so the giant takes him to his own quarters to make it rich from Grayson. Jack and Jillian work out their differences and decide it's time that both of them be heroes, save the harp, who is actually a girl under a spell, and get out of there. The pair work together courageously to save the harp, as well as saving Grayson in the process.
Movie is rated G, and is great fun for the entire family!
While this movie was a low budget film, the visuals were actually quite impressive. And of course it is geared towards kids, but even so, I thought they did a great job of portraying a more old fashioned feel as well as delivering a great quality looking film. Obviously this was not blu-ray quality, but even for a dvd formatted film, quality was great, except for just a couple scenes that involved the beanstalk. Because I'm older and don't have my childhood imagination anymore, some of the scenes taking place when the beanstalk falls, and when the two are climbing up it, I thought it looked a little too fake. But again, this movie is geared towards kids, and they would not notice.
All I can say is, nothing is creepier than James Earl Jones saying Fee Fi Fo Fum. I thought the audio was great. Because alot of the props on set were probably very cheap quality materials sound effects were a huge part of this film, everything from the eggs sounding like solid metal on the floor the the girl as a harp singing, but yet sounding like a harp still. Sound was quite impressive, and I can't stress enough, even though it's a kids movie, hearing Darth Vader was awesome!
There were not any special features.
Overall, I think this was a very enjoyable film. I am 23, and I actually liked the movie. Would I watch it again, probably not, only because I am not a little kid, but if I had a family with small kids, this would definitely be a hit film! A lot of movies I watch that are geared towards kids has so much dialogue in it, dialogue that doesn't even have a meaning. But a lot of Jack and the Beanstalk is visual. Which I think this will make it even more enjoyable for children.
Aside from the visual aspect of it though, the movie has an incredible meaning behind it, and this is what I almost found to be the best part. Obviously the movie follows Jack, whose job is to be a hero. So throughout the entire film, many people are telling Jack what a hero really means, describing one to be someone who makes sacrifices, helps others at all costs, and putting others before yourself. I thought this was a great message film for younger kids. And receiving 4 out of 5 doves proves that.
The acting however is kind of a different story. Now a lot of these bigger name actors I have seen in more adult films where their acting is quite impressive, and I know they are acting goofy because it is a kids movie, but I almost thought the acting was kind of silly, and again, maybe my lack of childhood imagination gets in the way here, but I wasn't too impressed with the acting.
All in all, this is a great family film. I would recommend this to families with children who are young, but yet old enough to understand meanings of movies, and to get the message that is being told all the while being entertained as well.