“Jack the Giant Slayer” is a spin-off of Jack and the Beanstalk, and this fantasy is predictably cliché.
Many will criticize the predictability of “Jack,” and viewers should not go into the movie expecting to be blown out of the water by originality. It’s a fairy tale, and all fairy tales follow the same predicable-yet-satisfying plotline.
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) happens upon a bag of magic beans that when planted, legend has it, will sprout up into the sky and into the land of giants. One night, when soon-to-be Queen Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) stumbles into Jack’s farmhouse, they both get the adventures they are hoping for when the legend of the beans comes true. The beans grow underneath Jack’s house and carry Isabelle away into the sky. The remainder of the film outlines the search and rescue of Isabelle by Jack and members of the royal guard. The group battles a brood of foul giants and confronts betrayal as well as produces Jack and Isabelle’s improbable romance.
There is nothing new about the events in “Jack the Giant Slayer,” but because of its fairy tale nature, this is acceptable. The variation of a childhood fairy tale is entertaining but far from a home run.
The intentions of the film’s producers remain in question, but the most pressing question is who is supposed to watch it?
The film is rated PG-13 for a good reason. Any 5-year-old — or any 10-year-old for that matter — who is hoping to see a cute rendition of one of their favorite bedtime stories is not going to enjoy this movie. The giants will scare children with both their fierce battle cries and their violent habits.
But “Jack the Giant Slayer” isn’t engaging enough to attract the older crowd either. It strikes an odd chord between a “Shrek”-type fairy tale with “Lord of the Rings”-type violence. The producers try hard to incorporate the technological capabilities in making the giants but sacrifice the young audience in the process.
The film is enjoyable, but its confused identity will keep it from experiencing the fairy tale success the producers hoped for.
Rating: Two stars