Director Bryan Singer is responsible for directing two of my top 20 favorite films of all time – The Usual Suspects and X2: X-Men United. For a short moment in time he was one of the best filmmakers of the current generation, then he got Superman Returns and somehow lost his mind and ability to direct a movie that makes any kind of sense. Is Jack The Giant Slayer the movie that returns him to greatness, or at least decentness? No, a resounding NO.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’m almost to the point where I’m getting tired of all of these modernized, fairy tale movies. Sure, I understand the draw, take popular stories like Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. and slap a fresh coat of modern CGI paint on them. Easy enough to do on paper, but in execution no one has been able to get it right.
It is easy to tell that a committee of five different writers wrote this movie. The tone is all over the place and Singer doesn’t want to commit. At some points it wants to be a serious “action” movie and features several deaths: some comical, others serious. Other times it is a comedy aimed at 5-year-old boys. That is the only way to explain such moments as watching an emaciated, dirty, giant pick his nose and then eat his boogers, while scratching his butt. Yeah: funny.
It largely fails because the movie spends too much time with these uninteresting, one-dimensional giants. Singer’s giants are dirty, grimy, emaciated looking with the personality of very large children. Just once I’d like to see a movie that has smart giants.
The CGI in this movie is distractingly awful. To add insult to injury it starts off with a horribly animated 10-minute opening that sets up the story. The animation style is pretty grim, sloppy and does a weird mix of CGI for the human characters that slowly morph into real life humans. The entire animated opening should
While the giants did not work much at all, the beanstalk was brilliantly done and I loved how they showed how long and dangerous climbing that thing would be (if it was real). Good stuff.
Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) does a really nice job bringing Jack to life and his relationship with the feisty Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) worked really well. The only time the movie truly comes alive is when these two are on screen together. The problem is the movie spends too much time everywhere else but on these two. Along for the ride is Ewan McGregor as the Captain of the King’s guard. Stanley Tucci as the scheming Roderick and Ian McShane as the King.
This movie is about as bland as it gets and the only question I have is, what happened to Bryan Singer?
Final Grade C