Bryan Singer’s “Jack The Giant Slayer” was originally called “Jack The Giant Killer”, which is probably a tad too violent sounding for the kids, especially since the film is most definitely tailored to the young’uns (well, early teens, I’d say). It’s definitely a movie that will be most appreciated by those who don’t have their own kids yet, with its themes of true love, a true underdog storyline and that always wonderful anything-is-possible
mumbo jumbo life lesson that all parents want their kids to learn. The film now arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on June 18, 2013.
Nicolas Hoult plays Jack, a peasant farm boy who grows up listening to stories about menacing giants and princesses and brave kings. This also happens to be the same story that Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) grows up listening to, except, well, she’s a Princess and he has to sell his only horse and wagon for enough money to jumpstart the family farm. Their paths cross and it’s smitten at first sight for Jack, but alas, he’s poor and she’s not, so enough of that nonsense. Fortunately for Jack, his fortunes are about to turn when he trades in his horse for some magical beans, and when the Princess shows up at his front door one night looking for a little shelter from the pouring rain, one of those beans sprouts a big ass beanstalk and sends the Princess into the clouds … to the very real land of the Giants! Oops.
The King (Ian McShane), needless to say, is not so happy with his daughter running from Giants that want to snack on her. These are not your friendly type of Giants. They’re ugly, mole-ridden, and flatulent bastards. Basically, extremely slayable, and you are unlikely to weep for any single one of them when Jack gets his slayin’ on. Jack gets his big chance to matter when he’s sent up the giant beanstalk to rescue the Princess, along with the King’s royal bodyguard Elmont (Ewan McGregor), who, amusingly, isn’t really all that good with fighting, though he talks a mighty big game. Long story short, the Giants end up invading the land of humans thanks to the connivance of the evil Roderick (Stanley Tucci), and Jack has to save the day.
Really, “Jack The Giant Slayer” is a pretty simple story, and it really does break down into simple “anything is possible” and “true love conquers all” life lessons. Which makes sense, since the film resembles a live-action Disney movie, complete with mustache-twirling villain, dashing knights, and a plucky female heroine and her equally plucky farm boy love interest. If you didn’t know going in that Bryan Singer directed “Jack”, you’d probably never guessed from the finished product. Mind you, not that Singer has what you would call a “signature style”, but the film is pretty generic in terms of directing. The CGI basically steals the show, with its ugly Giants (boils and all) and a third act that is essentially one battle scene as the Giants lay siege to a castle.
What “Jack The Giant Slayer” lacks in anything overly original, it more than makes up in adventure and big-budget thrills. So if that’s something you’re looking forward to in your DVD/Blu-ray purchase, you’re probably not going to go very wrong here. The film does seem to hint at a possible sequel set in the modern day, but let’s face it, given the dismal box office of “Jack The Giant Slayer”, that’s probably not going to happen unless we’re talking cheapo direct-to-DVD entry. Hey, it could happen.
As probably befitting a film that didn’t get much traction in theaters, the Blu-ray is a tad lacking. This is definitely one of those “buy it for the movie in Blu-ray” purchases. Which isn’t a bad deal, since the film is CGI heavy, and all that money put onscreen looks pretty good on Blu-ray. In terms of special features, the big offering is a “Become a Giant Slayer” interactive featurette (hosted by the charming Mr. Nicholas Hoult) that has you virtually “climbing” a beanstalk, with certain points in the climb leading to mini behind-the-scenes docs from the film meant to “teach” you how to become a giant slayer. Other than that, you get 8 1/2 minutes of deleted scenes and a 3-minute gag reel (including about a minute of trying to get a cat to lick Hoult’s face).