cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Jack the Giant Slayer
Click for full sized poster

Jack the Giant Slayer

Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci
Screenplay by Darren Lemke and Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney
Based on a story by Darren Lemke & David Dobkin
Directed by Bryan Singer

IN SHORT: Very family friendly . . but I liked it, too <g>. [Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language. 114 minutes]

Many readers of the site are of parenting age. Even with all the radical changes in culture and parenting styles, or the lack thereof, the simple act of parental units reading fable stories to little kidlets at bedtime is one which goes back hundreds of years. When it was possible to keep a kid busy all day, fables were compressed, from pages and pages of text, to paragraphs with a lot of pictures illustrating the text. Soon the comic book stepped in and fable stories became something studied in college in texts called "The UNCENSORED Grimm's Fairy Tales!"  Cranky still has his copy. Even worse, that censorious monster called Political Correctness slithered in under dark of night , forcing perfectly rounded pegs of story perfection in square holes of "how it's going to be now because we say so . . ."

And so "Jack the Giant-Killer" became Jack the Giant Slayer. Cranky grumbled. Cranky settled in, put the 3D glasses on and put his trust in director Bryan Singer, who had properly translated the X-Men from comic book to superstars of the big screen. As it turns out, it is trust well placed.

The basics of the fable remain: dumb farm boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) still trades his horse for "magic beans." Those "magic beans" still sprout into a beanstalk that links earth with the heavens, where a dumb Giant live, hoarding his treasure. Jack still climbs the beanstalk and he will find the Treasure but, now that the story is a movie, Jack's motivation has changed.

Yep, there's a girl in the story now . . . . Cranky's inner child is throwing a hissy fit . . . . She is Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) and, unlike the poor commoner who gets his name in the title, Isabelle is a Princess of the Kingdom of Cloister. She is the sole heir to the throne of aging King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) and, since there's this cultural prejudice about women ruling kingdoms --- seriously, if you were to change the name to "Queendom" there would be anarchy in the East Village, but I digress. Isabelle likes to dress like commoners do and sneak out into the "real world," seeking her own kind of adventure.

So it begins that Once Upon A Time, Jack meets Isabelle on a rainy night. A tremendous amount of back story has been told during the opening credits so if this is where you enter the theater, you will be lost. Arrive early. We will only tell you once:

Earlier, when Jack disappointed his uncle by returning from a faire without horse nor cart nor ten coppers he was to have sold that pair for -- Jack has a pouch of magic beans given to him by a monk "as collateral" --  Uncle storms off. Jack is grounded. One magic bean has fallen through a crack in the hovel floor. There you have it. Rainy night. Isabelle takes shelter from the storm.  All that rain causes the bean to sprout. Jack's house rises into the sky -- Jack, we have learned is a klutz and  he falls out the door on to the ground -- taking the Princess with it. When all is said and done, the King sends his most trusted Knight Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Isabelle's fiance, [Roderick] (Stanley Tucci) up the vine, with the best soldiers of the Royal Guard and that lout farm boy Jack, who feels responsible for the whole mess.

From here on out, the film's story deviates radically from the tale we were told as a bedtime story in the last century ago. Brian Singer has his own horde of writers at hand to toss action and romance at the viewer at a speed that would be abusive to parents and just oh so right to the seen year olds those parents have left with their fellow little monsters up in the first row.

Parents . . . have no fear. There is plenty of killing in Jack the Giant Slayer but there is, for reasons that will become obvious, very little blood. Yes, our jaw did drop just a little as the monstrous giants -- they're all about twenty-five foot tall -- take their first bite of the long lost delicacy that is the human head; the row of eleven year olds behind us started giggling. So all is well.

We also want to send props to the writing team for planting the seeds of the Commoner versus Royalty conundrum that any G.E.D. wielding parent should be able to explain to the smallest child, assuming they understand the meaning of the word "conundrum." Jack the Giant Slayer is overstuffed with story and effects and a fast paced story which should make anyone happy.

Cranky, of course, isn't anyone. We found Jack the Giant Slayer to be overstuffed -- all in a good way, aimed to keep the single digit kidlets in the front happy. We would have been in the back, if the IMAX theater in which we saw the film had had an escalator to get us to the top rows (disabled legs can't climb stairs) but, even in the fourth row, there was way more than enough to keep us entertained. Being an old fart, Cranky would have liked just a bit of extra breathing room between thrills! and action! and forbidden-romance! (heck, even the five year olds will figure that one out all by themselves) -- but Jack the Giant Slayer is what it is . . .

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Jack the Giant-Slayer, he would have paid . . .


and what it is Fun. Capital "f" Fun.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Bryan Singer
Click to buy films starring Stanley Tucci
Click to buy films starring Eleanor Tomlinson
Click to buy films starring Ewan McGregor
Click to buy films starring Nicholas Hoult

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.