The reimagining of fairy-tales into big-budget, action-packed, CGI-spectacles needs to abolished quickly.
The audience for these films is a niche, at best, and numerous box office receipts prove this, and the films themselves offer little in the way of imagination and creativity.
What they do offer is constant ridiculousness justified by a facile storyline with ludicrous characters and action set-pieces that do not exercise their basic right of being fun or enjoyable.
Reviewing Jack the Giant Slayer is about as difficult as it was to review Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters on a competent, scholarly level. Both films are not just preposterous, but they fall in that small crack between criticism and a film that was born to be simply an entertainment piece that is very difficult to criticize on the basis of a regular film.
Both films are similar in the regards that they take pretty obvious ideas and give them obvious tones, events, and characters. In addition, they both feel soulless and predictable, even with such cockamamie titles.
The film concerns the title character (Nicholas Hoult), who buys magic beans and is transported into an alternate universe where giants thrive at the expense of the human race.
When his crush Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is kidnapped by the giants, Jack sees that he use his wise farm-boy roots and devilish action moves to defeat them and put humans back at power once more.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters failed largely because of the fact that there was no personality to the film and its characters. It was one large, plodding work of cinematic dreariness, thanks to a detached script and lukewarm performances across the board.
However, it made up a little bit in its art direction, which seemed to blend the styles of Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton, combining modern Gothicism with typical action-movie feel. The result was kind of pleasant, kind of monotonous, but, in the end, forgettable-fare. Jack the Giant Slayer benefits from the same departments as Hansel & Gretel and flounders in the same.
The entire concept of retelling the legacy of a fairytale figure, with the only differences being more emphasis on action and offbeat personalities is simply not that attractive or appealing. It shows an appalling lack of creativity and ambition in current Hollywood, and the fact that the film had lukewarm returns make the trend look like one that gained the smallest amount of momentum before crashing hard.
If anything, the film reminds me of Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm, a passable fantasy film, retelling the fairytale of the title characters with a darker twist.
The visual style utilized in Jack the Giant Slayer seems to be directly inspired not from the aforementioned Bekmambetov and Burton but from Gilliam, the cinematic visualist who always takes an eye-popping route with the look and art direction of his pictures.
The most attractive things about Jack the Giant Slayer are its beanstalks and the immensity of space and texture is given to them. They appear to be cherry-picked out of the classic adventure films Disney was known for making in the fifties, and seem to house their own pipeline to instant creativity and effectiveness as storytelling vehicles.
Aside from the occasional visual that dazzles and the one scene that impresses (the scene where Jack and Isabelle, at first, appear to be walking victims of a giant as he gets ready to consume those he takes captive), Jack the Giant Slayer is a big bowl of monotony and boredom.
Very few times does this come off as a joyous experience and more of a cross-your-fingers attempt at raking in money on Hollywood’s part. The film is repetitive and dreary and warrants only a viewing for genre enthusiasts, who have seen it all in movies past and will likely embrace seeing it all again. I wish I had the patience, mindset, and excitement of them.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, and Stanley Tucci. Directed by: Bryan Singer.
Source: Steve Pulaski – imdb