Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer just might be one of 2013’s biggest surprises. The light family action-adventure film provides plenty of laughs and action, with its harmless intentions mostly coming off as painless and very mindless entertainment, but entertainment nonetheless. Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t original and rarely counts for a good film, but it’s a fun one that manages to please throughout the entire running time.
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a poor farmhand just looking to fit in. His uncle doesn’t really care for him, yet he continues to look at life through a positive lens, because he’s constantly reading fairy tales about ancient times when things were much more exciting. He has a crush on Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), but doesn’t bother pursuing it because he knows that he’s nothing more than a peasant.
That all changes when she stumbles upon his farm shortly after Jack has acquired some magical beans that when mixed with water unleash a giant bean stock that links to another world up above, where giant creatures roam. This bean stock links two separate worlds and causes an all-out war as the giants prepare to come down below, while the evil Roderick (Stanley Tucci) is looking to climb up above to gain control of the giants and eventually the entire world.
Jack must now join Roderick and the princess’ right hand guard Elmont (Ewan McGregor) on an adventure of a lifetime as he attempts to save the princess and protect the entire world down below.
Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer looked like absolute garbage. Its release date was pushed back and it even underwent a severely lame title change in an attempt to capture the younger audiences. Adults weren’t sold on the family-friendly trailers, while kids thought that it mostly looked uninteresting and kind of lame. I don’t blame either sides of the table, because I honestly thought the same, yet I ended up loving it.
This isn’t a film that is going to wow you at any single point, yet it works wonders as a silly and fun adventure, with enough comedy and charming romance to make you not hate it. Director Bryan Singer hasn’t been known for making the best of films as of late, but Jack the Giant Slayer takes full advantage of his directing arsenal in providing the audience with a film that’s full of simple variety.
Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor provide the film’s two best performances, with Hoult continuing with yet another love-struck role that simply follows a boy as he becomes a man, while McGregor gives the film its much-needed dose of comedy and respect. McGregor is clearly having a lot of fun as the film’s only character with common sense, yet Hoult still manages to convey enough strong emotion to sell the romance between him and the princess character.
Jack the Giant Slayer works surprisingly well because of its ability to shift around without many problems. The romance is light and yet it captures you for the time being and the action is big enough to impress you, but nothing to be considered highlight reel material.
Everything about Jack the Giant Slayer works for the moment, but probably won’t stand up all too well against time and that’s okay, because for the moment Bryan Singer has grabbed our attention and imagination and delivered an action/adventure/fantasy that leans a bit more towards adults than children, but is still acceptable for most ages.
WB’s 1080p video transfer is unsurprisingly perfect in almost every single way. The film’s poorer CGI elements still stick out like a sore thumb, but most of that is balanced out by the film’s overly colorful transfer, which is full of many bright and gorgeous greens as well as finer detail structured in some of the Giants special effects. Skin tones are bright and glowing and I couldn’t find a single spec of imperfection. This is yet another strong new release from a company known for delivering the goods more often than not.
The exact same can be said for the film’s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. This is an active track that is almost always bursting with sound, especially during some of the bean stock sprouting moments. The action is fully immersive, while the dialogue is loud and clearly understood at all times. This is a hearty track that’ll please even the non-fans of the film.
Unfortunately, the special features for this combo pack are rather sparse. The behind-the-scenes featurettes are all wisely disguised in a feature known as Become a Giant Slayer, which simply takes you up the bean stock as you view said features. It’s a nifty, but mostly gimmicky feature that’ll maybe entertain the kids. There’s also a small amount of deleted scenes, plus a gag reel and the usual DVD copy/UltraViolet Digital Copy combo. Here’s a full list of the special features:
- Become a Giant Slayer (HD)
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Gag Reel (HD)
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
I doubt many will really enjoy Jack the Giant Slayer. The trailers pretty much sell the movie, if maybe holding back on some of the old-fashioned genuine fun that the film includes. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it, yet I found myself laughing almost the entire way through. It’s not something that gets points for being extremely creative or even the least bit smart, yet it’s entertaining, light, fun and adventurous.
Those not easily amused will want to skip it, but those looking for a quick adventure will definitely want to add this one to their rental list. WB’s Blu-ray is a little light on the bonus material, but the perfect picture and spectacular audio might just make this one a purchase when it goes on sale or at least a strong rental without hesitation. Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t the greatest movie of the year, but it’s far from the worst. Consider it!
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.