Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! And remember kids, always be suspicious of taller people.

Jack the Giant Slayer – 4 out of 5

We all know the story of Jack, those magic beans, a beanstalk and a giant. Hell, I’m pretty sure I once lived it after I got some magic beans from a crazy old man and, after they fell into the ground, I found myself on a journey into the clouds to do battle with a giant who clearly had a problem with his olfactory glands because he kept saying I smelled like an Englishman but I don’t remember stinking of dry, intelligent wit and bowler hats/umbrella combos. However, this event came at a time when I was really into hallucinogens so it may never actually happened at all.

"Hey, what happens if we drop a penny from up here?  Or spit on someone?
What about if I take a leak on them?  I'm asking...for a friend...who is also on the 'stalk."

"'Giant Slayer?' That's what I call my penis.  Yes, I am
fully aware that the nickname only makes sense if I
spend all my time sexing taller women."
 Jack the Giant Slayer (not to be confused with the old, hilariously awful Jack the Giant Killer from 1962) tells the story of Jack (Nicholas Hoult from Warm Bodies) who, after a sequence of misunderstandings, gets his hands on the mythic magic beans that were held over from a time past. In Jack’s world, giants are real and live in the clouds and once waged war on man before a magic crown capable of controlling the giants forced them back to their world where they were exiled by the king and have, since, passed on into legend. After some more misunderstandings, this one involving the King’s daughter Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), the beans soak into the ground and grown into a giant beanstalk pushing its way towards the realm of the giants—taking Jack, Isabelle and Jack’s home with it. After the giants lay claim to the princess, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) has his bravest knight Elmont (Ewan McGregor) take his fabulous hairstyle (seriously, his hair was great in the film) and go and retrieve his daughter. Jack, feeling responsible and having some butterflies in his tummy for the girl, goes with Elmont, as well as the treacherous Roderick; a man who has the ancient, giant-controlling crown and plans on using the behemoths to take rule of the land and make himself king. Now, it seems man and giant are once again destined for battle…unless Jack can do some giant slaying!

Really fabulous hair.

Despite the overall mixed feelings the critics gave this film (or had for this film I guess, since it was feelings and all), I found I really enjoyed this Bryan Singer directed tale. A lot of critics cited that the film’s story was flat and familiar but, that was what I liked about it. Jack’s tale with the beanstalk is just ingrained in the brains of so many people that I think its story is passed genetically from parent to child. Granted, the film didn’t have much depth with its story and it wasn’t very complicated but I didn’t find it bad in any sense of the word. It was a fairy tale and fairy tales are never overly complicated. Overall, the story was just a fun romp and it was kinda cool to see Jack and the giants hit the big screen.

"Oh no...he isn't wearing anything underneath his loincloth."

And speaking of the giants…

Apparently Glenn Danzig played one of the giants.

Imagine if they made an anime version of this movie...
Just look at the size of those vines and weep in
 The special effects in this film were just amazing. When I first watched the trailer, I thought the giants looked cartoonish but after sitting through it I was able to see the high level of detail that each of the giants had. Their facial expressions, the way they move and the way Singer was able to perfectly encapsulate the sense of scale with each of them really help submerge me into this fairy tale world. In fact, watching the battles between tiny man and gargantuan man suddenly filled me with a desire to dust off my PS2 and play some Shadow of the Colossus. The realism and believability for these characters were only helped by great voice acting. While most of the giants don’t speak and the ones that do usually have the “big voice” you would probably naturally suspect a giant to have, the main ones have voices that add to their characters as much as their designs do. Especially the lead giant who is voiced by Bill Nighy…but his voice didn’t really have the same amount of character as the design of the giant did.

Eh, he doesn't look that special for being the lead giant...

SWEET SEAGULL EATING A CHEESESTICK!!!  Gollum is growing out of
his shoulder!

The answer to my Tucci question is "never."
There is never a time when he's not enjoyable.
 I also really enjoyed the cast in this one. Nicholas Hoult was enjoyable as the awkward farm boy-turned-hero Jack, McGregor (aside from his hair looking great) had a great balance of humor and hubris as Elmont, Stanley Tucci was very entertaining as the devious Roderick (but has there ever been a time when Tucci isn't enjoyable?) and, finally, you have Ian “Fucking” McShane as the king—enough said there (the man was Blackbeard, for crying out loud...and have you seen how awesome he was in Deadwood?). The only real downfall was Eleanor Tomlinson as Isabelle and that downfall is more from the fact her character doesn’t really have much going on in the script besides being an object that needs to be taken back from the giants, so she really doesn’t have many opportunities to really showcase any real acting abilities during the running length.

I would be okay with living under a monarchy that had Ian McShane as king.

"Quickly, my giant bretheren.  Let's leave a giant
flaming bag on the castle's doorstep."
 I also really enjoyed the way the film was able to handle some of the violence and darker elements that came in the story—like how the giants like to eat people. You never actually see it happen because whenever a giant is about to chomp down on some human skin and bones, it cuts away to the reactions from the characters. This dynamic really gave the film a slight edge and gloom to it but without making it too dark to the point it would look like one of those actual fairy tales from the past—you ever read some of the old ones?  They were Goth and disturbing to the point that today’s breed of Goth kids, probably angst-ing it up because they live in gated suburban communities, wept and vomited out of sheer disgust over how dark they are.

Treebeard, no!  Those giants are monsters!

Jack the Giant Slayer is just a fun, fantasy action popcorn movie that is great to just turn on and tune out to. I didn’t watch this movie for intricate plot points, subtle character development or a deep, thought-provoking story—I watched it for a beanstalk and giants who want to start a fight with the little guys…Ewan’s hair was just a bonus. In the end, I just found the movie to be fun and entertaining and I’m definitely going to be watching this one again.  I suppose I could have ended this review with one of those giant rhyme-things...let's, like this movie.  Okay, I won't be trying that again.

I need to say it again; that hair is just amazing!

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