2013, overall, has been a very weak year for movies so far. So, naturally, going into Jack the Giant Slayer, I was expecting the trashy, dull crap we’ve been subjected to since January. To my surprise(and delight), director Brian Singer proved me very, very wrong. Not only is the film entertaining, it showcases some performances that, while not Oscar worthy, contain a level of authenticity that just doesn’t exist in movies like this. Yes, the film has its corny moments, but it recognizes that and has a blast with them.
Jack(Nicholas Hoult) is a humble farm-boy who grew up among poverty and tragedy. His simple, repetitive life takes an interesting turn when a beautiful princess(Eleanor Tomlinson) stops at his farm while lost. This encounter(and a bag of beans obtained while trying to sell his horse) change his life forever. Together with the captain of the King’s guard, Elmont(Ewan McGregor), Jack embarks on a quest to save the princess and fight the giants enslaving her.
Nicholas Hoult is just beginning to attract the masses, having starred in Warm Bodies and now Singer’s latest directorial effort. His performance here is pretty bland, but hey, Robert Pattinson gets away with being bland and he’s one of the biggest stars in the industry. Good job, Hollywood. You’re easing us away from one bad actor and force-feeding us another. Luckily, the supporting cast more than makes up for Hoult’s Kristen Stewart-esque facial expressions. Eleanor Tomlinson and Ewan McGregor are the standouts, with Stanley Tucci doing a satisfying job as the film’s villain. Tomlinson and McGregor are the only two actors appearing to have fun onscreen, and it shows. Everyone else(Ian McShane is the worst offender here) appears bored, grumpy, and constipated. But oh well, I guess they can’t all be winners.
The film really plays to its cheesiness, and I love that. I almost want to say that Singer purposefully added that element, because it’s not supposed to be taken seriously at all.
The dialogue has its ups and downs, but many won’t care. The film is fun, inventive, and a surprisingly memorable time at the movies, despite its faults.
I’m ignoring many of the film’s most glaring faults because I really liked this movie. However, undeveloped characters are just something I can’t ignore. Most of the characters are incredibly underdeveloped, which is disappointing because, in an odd way, I came to care about them by the end. The one character that was remotely developed was Tomlinson’s character, and her development was slightly misleading. The princess was set up to be a rebellious, bad-ass character, but all she ended up being was a reason for the giants to come down and destroy everything.
If you are looking for a film that’s dumb and so unnecessary that it’s fun, check out Jack the Giant Slayer.
3.5 out of 5 stars