HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Jack The Giant Slayer
HTS Overall Score:80
“Jack the Giant Slayer” seemed doomed before the minute it hit the big screens: delayed a half dozen times for various reasons, given a ton of reshoots and a monstrous budget that seemed to grow as time went on along with an ATROCIOUS marketing campaign. The last film that suffered these problems was “John Carter." As happened to Disney with “John Carter,” Warner ended up losing nearly a 100 million dollars on “Jack the Giant Slayer.” I was actually intrigued when I saw all the goings on; “John Carter” was one of my favorite movies of 2012 and a complete delight, in spite of the box office failure. Hoping that lightning would strike twice, I was on pins and needles during this viewing. Unfortunately for us, “Jack” is a bit more of a miss than “John Carter” was. Still an incredibly entertaining movie, but the complete giddy joy I had during “John Carter” was absent here.
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a young peasant boy with dreams of adventure and excitement. Orphaned at a young age, he lives on dreams and stories of a legendary race of giants that live up in the sky somewhere, banished by an ancient king with a crown given the power to control the giants. As with the original story book, Jack goes off to the market to sell his uncle’s horse and cart so as to get some much needed funds for the farm. Along the way he meets a beautiful girl named Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) who just so happens to be the princess of the land in disguise. Distracted by defending her honor, young jack’s cart is stolen and he is forced to sell the horse alone to a desperate monk who gives him 5 beans as collateral for the horse. These beans happen to be the legendary beans that in ancient times gave rise to a giant beanstalk which created a bridge between the world of man and the fearsome world of hungry flesh eating giants. Taking the beans back to his home, Jack is reprimanded for his stupidity and as a result one of the magic beans slips under the floor boards. That same night the strong willed princess decides to make a midnight run and gets lost in a thunder storm and ends up on Jack’s doorstep. Stuck together during the storm that one lone seed under the house gets wet and sprouts, sending Isabelle up through the clouds to the land of the Giants.
Now the palace guardians come searching for Isabelle and find an unconscious Jack and one GIANT beanstalk where poor Jack’s house used to be. King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) sends up the captain of his guards, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and his daughter’s sleazy husband to be, Roderick (Stanley Tucci) up the stalk to rescue his daughter. Already smitten with the princess Jack volunteers to go along with, and away they go. Getting to the top is not a problem, the real problem comes from evading man eating giants and having a traitor in the form of a creepy groom stab you in the back. It seems that our Roderick is more interested in finding the giants so that he can control (with the crown of legends) an entire Giant army and take over the world. Now Jack must do his best to get out of the frying pan and avoid the fire so that he can rescue the princess and save the kingdom from imminent doom.
I’m not a fan of the way Nicholas Hoult has been thrust upon the public. It seems that he’s the new “pretty young face” of Hollywood and is given leading roles in films that I don’t think he’s entirely suited for. With his dark hair and handsome face it’s easy to see why he’s become a girl’s heart throb, but as an actor he’s a bit lacking. Here he plays the stuttering Jack decently enough, but still has that shy quiet air to him that ends up with his character feeling a bit limp wristed. Ian McShane is solid as the King, but the real stars of the show are Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy. Stanley Tucci just hams it up as the sleazy count Roderick, with a greasy, sleazy demeanor and a simpering smile that just wreaked of creep. Throwing himself into the role with gusto he just dominated every scene he was in. Equally enjoying the campy script, Ewan McGregor sparkles on screen with that sort of “Tony Curtis” bravado where the hero will smile towards the camera and a magical “sparkle” will spring from his pearly whites. While we don’t get to SEE Bill Nighy, his voice is used as General Fallon, leader of the vicious race of giants. Bill Nighy is one of those actors that just can’t seem to do any wrong. Even if he’s in a movie that is complete devoid of personality he is a shining light of charisma and charm. Here it is no different.
The movie itself is a decent film, it has its problems as stated earlier, but it revels in the fact that it’s a campy adventure story for the kid in everyone. Fast paced and filled with scads of punny one liners and winks to the camera, it is sure to please those looking for a family friendly adventure. Due to its PG-13 rating much of the violence is implied, rather than shown on screen, giving it a much broader audience recommendation by myself. My only real complaints are due to the choppy feeling of the film. There are scenes that will put a smile on your face, where the fun factor shoots through the roof, and that is unfortunately followed by scenes that just feel awkward and force, mainly due to the rather limited acting skills of our young heroes. Still it is a fun romp and not something to be missed if you like Giant battles (wink wink, nudge nudge) and good, mindless fun.
Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11871[/img]With all the copious amounts of money that Warner Brothers threw at the CGI budget, you better believe that this 2.40:1 transfer looks AMAZING. Colors literally pop off the screen and I have rarely seen an image this crystal clear. Fine detail rocks the entire film with crisp facial shots and equally stunning long shots. The contrast levels look beautifully accurate and facial tones are right on target. My main complaint was that the copious amounts of CGI still tends to look a bit fake in places. While the detail work done for such a huge amount of completely CGI characters is impressive, there is just no substitute for the real thing. As a result there’s just that feeling of “this is fake” that detracts when the real world elements blend with the CGI. Shadow detail is mind-blowingly good. Deep dungeons of the giants are rendered with flawless accuracy and the interior of Jack’s humble and dark home show ever book on the shelf, every crack in the weathered boards and a brilliant amount of facial detail. An overall fantastic encode that Warner Brothers should be proud of.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11872[/img]Just as good as the audio is wall shaking 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. The dialogue is very well balanced throughout the film without feeling out of whack with the sound effects or indistinct vocals. The only problems I had hearing was due to Nicholas Hoult’s soft manner of speaking would sometimes make one strain their ears to hear his dialogue, but that wasn’t terribly distracting or a problem with the encode. Surround use was absolutely phenomenal and a treat for the ears. During the final battle it felt like I was LITERALLY being surrounded by falling debris on all sides. The detail and accuracy of sound placements was done so well I swore I could actually hear things hitting my own walls to the rear. The LFE channel was used with pin point accuracy, adding a nice low end to the entire film that was present at all times. During the initial rise of the beanstalk the subs lift you off your seat and batter you around the whole time. Merciless and DEEEEEEP it is there in spades giving your pants a good solid shaking. A well balanced track that deserves praise and gives us audiophiles a big sloppy grin from ear to ear.
• Become A Giant Slayer
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is not an exceptional picture, but it is most certainly a fun, campy romp for the adventurer in all of us. Silly, cheesy, and full of actors who just had a blast with their roles, I enjoyed it from beginning to end, even if I realized it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Much of this is probably due to the fact that “Jack” was delayed for ages, reshoots were done near the end of production, and the whole project was marketed very poorly (hmmm, sounds similar to “John Carter”), but it still can’t be denied that Warner Brothers didn’t have the knock out hit they were hoping for. Their lack of extras on the disc seems to go hand in hand with their confidence of its box office appeal, with the real saving grace on this disc and exemplary set of Audio and Video scores for us collectors. I’d definitely give “Jack the Giant Slayer” a watch, it’s most definitely a lot of fun and a great CGI popcorn flick for a weekend with the family.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Darren Lemke, Chris McQuarrie
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1,French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 114 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Available on Blu-ray Combo pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD, Digital Download
Buy Jack The Giant Slayer 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Jack The Giant Slayer 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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