I have to confess that I have become more and more of a Nicholas Hoult fan as time has gone by. I adored Warm Bodies, after all what's not to love about a zombie love story! So when I received Jack the Giant Slayer to review I was already in a good place to enjoy it. But I didn't think I'd enjoy quite as much as I did. I thought it was going to be a bit of a Sunday afternoon kids' movie. But I was very wrong. Jack the Giant Slayer is an intensely action packed, dark fairy tale, which actually had me on the edge of my seat. I got really into it!
The film has all the ingredients needed for a re-telling of the classic children's fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk: a brave and clever farm boy, an adventurous princess/damsel in distress, a noble king, brave knights, a treacherous villain and his murderous sidekick, dark magic and an army of evil giants.
Jack unwittingly sets into action an event which opens a gateway into the sky domain of the giants and reignites an ancient war between the giants and mankind. The creatures, that Jack thought only existed in legends, are really fearsome beasts who want to reclaim the lands that they lost centuries before. Lead by a sinister two headed giant, voiced by Bill Nighy, the ferocious giants capture the princess and a rescue mission is undertaken to save her. A battle ensues that threatens to destroy the kingdom and Jack finds himself fighting alongside the king to save the day and protect humanity from this terrible threat.
The CGI giants are really hideous and brilliantly detailed. Their ferocity is quite extreme and they are happy to pluck up a human and bite their head clean off. It is really quite violent with a very high body count (although you don't see any actual blood or gore it is obvious that people are being eaten, crushed or thrown to their deaths). There is a lot of sustained threat and tension throughout the story. So this film is definitely not for little children.
For me, the star of the show was Ewan MacGregor who was perfectly cast as the brave and noble knight Elmont. His delivery of the lines was perfect and his sarcastic wit was just so British. The bad guy Roderick, played by Stanley Tucci, was the villain that we loved to hate. A human whose own agenda trancended everything, and who was prepared to do whatever it took to achieve his aims. His evil smile was perfect. Great casting!
The very end of the film was a stroke of genius, bringing the story into the 21st century and making the audience truly believe in the magic of fairy tales.
I would highly recommend this film to families with older children. Grab some popcorn and have a thrilling family film night!
Out to buy now on DVD, Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray. The film also contains an Ultraviolet copy to add to your collection which can be streamed or downloaded to mobile devices.