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Jack the Giant Slayer: A Refreshing Blast of Nice

June 20, 2013

jack the giant slayer movie poster

Jack the Giant Slayer is a breath of fresh air. The characters are nice, the actors are having  fun and the movie has a straightforward cheeky vibe that keeps a smile on your face. My fiancée and I enjoyed every minute of the film because it wasn’t burdened by anti heroes, origin stories, self-important monologues and weighty issues. I have no problem with any of those factors and many movies featuring them (Thor, The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Captain America) I own and love to watch. However, sometimes it is nice to watch a film where characters  listen to each other while they battle giants. We’ve become so accustomed to the whiny princesses, poor peasants, evil knights and cheeky sidekicks that we expect every film to feature them. However, Jack strays away from these character traits and is all the more likable for it.

Jack is the story of beanstalks, angry giants and Ewan McGregor’s hair. The movie creates likable characters who are refreshingly nice. The story has a predictable vibe with unpredictable characters who listen to each other and look out for best interests. The problems amongst the main characters are not caused by selfishness, entitlement or jealousy. Once the stalk gets growing and giants start forming the characters act rationally, cheekily and bravely. They are smart people dealing with a giant problem. Also, not only are there magic beans but there is magic hair. McGregor’s hair goes from perfect, wet, disheveled and back to perfect without any hair wax or primping.

Jack the Giant Slayer Ewan McGregor

This may sound odd considering CGI giants are battling knights but the action is surprisingly believable. When a man runs at a giant the man gets stomped. It adds a neat wildcard to the film. Do you remember the Matthew McConaughey, Gerard Butler and Christian Bale classic Reign of Fire? There is a seemingly epic scene where McC jumps off a tower to attack a dragon. You think he might chop it’s head off or land a death-blow but the opposite happens. McC jumps and the dragon effortlessly eats the muscled man. It is anti-climatic and pretty awesome. The giants are the same in this film. Sure they are dumb but there is no way a man could kill them without large arrows, fire or a bee’s nest placed inside their helmet which forces them to stumble off a cliff. Characters get squished unceremoniously in Jack and I like that.

Jack the Giant Slayer had a long road to hit the cinema. It went through year-long  post-production delays, multiple rewrites and several directors. However, the final product turned out better than expected. It is a lean squishing machine that director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) explains like this:

It’s a very traditional fairytale, probably the most traditional thing I’ve ever done. But it’ll also be a fun twist on the notion of how these tales are told… Fairytales are often borne of socio-political commentary and translated into stories for children. But what if they were based on something that really happened?.. What if we look back at the story that inspired the story that you read to your kids? That’s kind of what this movie’s about.

Jack the Giant Slayer is pure popcorn entertainment. There are no anti-heroes, emotional depths are not plumbed and it features too many giant farts. However,  It is nice not to have the huge speeches, predictable beats and angry father/daughter subplots. Just enjoy yourself when watching this film. It is meant for adults and kids who enjoy seeing pigs surrounded by dough (Literal pig in a blanket). It is an unpretentious film that simply wanted to tell a nice story and entertain kids. I totally recommend this to anybody looking for a breezy time featuring wonderful actors and Bill Nighy as a two-headed giant.

Watch Jack the Giant Slayer. Appreciate that is doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and instead features a giant throwing a huge cart wheel at a castle.

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