Tuesday, 17 November 2015

"Jack the Giant Slayer" movie review (adaptation)

(Fig. 1 –original poster)

“Jack the Giant Slayer” is a film directed by Bryan Singer in 2013. It adapts the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk” which is a traditional English folklore tale. The film introduces quite a few changes from the original tale, in a mostly unsuccessful way, however it does have its perks. As Richard Roeper says: “"Jack the Giant Slayer" is filled with neat touches, from the casting of Ewan McGregor as Elmont, a knight in shining armour who's supposed to be the hero of the story and is indeed A hero, but not THE hero, to an epilogue that's just flat-out cool.” (Roeper, 2013)

Perhaps the most annoying detail was the main character who, as in many teen/children films believes his way out of any situation and his positive attitude immediately translates into a successful outcome for any challenge. He is implied to be a dreamer and disappoints his uncle by trading the family horse for a few “magic” beans. However the moment the beanstalk appears he turns into some sort of an action hero and quickly becomes the saviour of the whole kingdom.

 What this film does is mostly expanding on the story, rather than omitting details. It lasts for around 2 hours and drags a bit. The overall feeling is overwhelmingly positive though. Even if at times the film feels a bit generic. David Hughes says: “Where Jack The Giant Slayer really stands head and shoulders above other recent fairy tale adaptations is in its sense of adventure, which is closer in spirit to The Princess Bride and Shrek than the try-hard Twilight wannabes.” (Hughes, 2009)

What the movie adds to the source material are a lot of little details to make the narrative smoother for the big screen and some major changes like adding a romantic touch in the face of a princess that falls in love with Jack. Since the idea of the film is slaying giants too, it would have been a very unfair fight if the humans didn’t have any advantages, being so small and crushable by the deformed giants. The story includes a crown, forged from the heart of a giant and whoever wears it controls the giants.

Visually the film is very CG dependant. It starts a bit shaky but it soon turns very cinematically pleasing even though a lot of the landscapes were not particularly memorable. The scenes have this fake quality about them and make the viewer very aware of the matte paintings used.

In a sense “Jack the Giant Slayer” is doing its job successfully. At the end of the day it was a fairy-tale adaptation and perhaps the audience it was aiming for is slightly younger viewers. The film was a box office success and has a lot of value to it.  


Roeper, R. (2013). Jack the Giant Slayer Movie Review (2013) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/jack-the-giant-slayer-2013 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2015].

Hughes, D. (2009). Jack The Giant Slayer. [online] Empire. Available at: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/jack-giant-slayer/review/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2015].


Fig. 1 - Upload.wikimedia.org, (2015). [online] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b4/Jack_the_Giant_Slayer_poster.jpg [Accessed 17 Nov. 2015].

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