You don’t know Jack. That’s why I’m here. And, I’m not so sure you want to get to know him, because he’s a bit on the bland side.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is a live-action fantasy based on the classic fairy tale known to most of us as “Jack and the Beanstalk.” A farm boy (Nicholas Hoult) from a dirt poor family goes to the nearby village to sell his horse. Instead, a monk persuades him to trade his livestock for a bag of beans. One of the magic beans falls under his house and transforms into a giant vine that reaches right into the skies above.
It also propels upward the local princess who stopped by Jack’s house to get out of the rain. The king is in a panic and his bravest knights are sent up the vine to retrieve his daughter. Jack tags along. The upwardly mobile giants who live at vine’s end put the puny humans on the menu.
With a budget of nearly $200 million, the filmmakers clearly had their heads in the clouds. The movie could be too scary for small children, but not scary enough for adults familiar with the gruesome story. The story of Jack has been watered down through the centuries, but basically it’s meant to scare naughty kids out of their pajamas right before bedtime. So, why not make it really scary? Fantasy buffs would dig it. And, cool kids would beg their parents to go see it. Nightmares abound.
Instead, “Jack the Giant Slayer” is (yes, I’m going to say it) fee-fi-ho-hum. Grade: C-