Jack The Giant Slayer
Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci
Jack The Giant Slayer is a conundrum. On the one hand, it’s handled by people who actually have talent with Bryan Singer directing and Christopher McQuarrie penning it. On the other, Jack seems to be born out of Hollywood’s recent trend to turn classic stories into huge swooping epics in the style of The Lord of the Rings. While most of these have been complete misfires, very few have been earnest films. Jack The Giant Slayer isn’t one of those few, because no one involved cares enough to utilize their talents.
Bryan Singer likely wishes he was directing another film entirely, as his work here is very pedestrian. He’s here because this type of film would be more a mess in a lesser director’s hands. Too bad it still feels like this is a gun-for-hire’s film, with a tone that goes all over the place. Singer’s not sure if he wants to make a kids movie, a fun adventure, or a dark and grim tale. The Giants here will fart just as soon as they’ll suck a soldier dry of his bones. Singer doesn’t care, just so long as the we get to the next scene, even if it takes what feels like hours to get there.
It’d be swell if Jack The Giant Slayer offered up any sort of fun or interesting action scenes, which to its credit there is one death that’s great. Unfortunately it comes about an hour and forty-five minutes too late to save the plodding, unbearable journey that this movie takes. Things happen on screen, there are fights with the Giants, and even a budding romance, all of which are elements that should engage its audience. Singer and his team don’t want us to, and in turn, the movie loses any heart it presents within the opening scenes.
There are elements that do try to elevate the movie, and they start with Ewan McGregor as Elmont. McGregor’s one of the more undervalued actors of his age, and is the only one who seems to be wanting to make the movie we’d like Jack to be. Nicholas Hoult is serviceable, but he feels bored by the material, and compared with his turn in Warm Bodies, not hard to see why. Eleanor Thompson plays Isabelle, Jack’s love interest, but she has nothing to other than look pretty (which she does magnificently.) And while Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci (who could be confused with Steve Coogan here,) and Ewan Bremmer all do fine, they’re barely memorable.
If Singer had only been interested in making the film special, then maybe this wouldn’t seem so bland. Jack The Giant Slayer is an effort, albeit not a very valiant one. This shouldn’t feel as mediocre as it does, and maybe that’s why this film frustrates. Perhaps a director not as experienced as Singer might’ve served the film better, as at least he or she would have been trying instead of going through the motions. Jack The Giant Slayer isn’t a terribly awful movie, it just doesn’t care if it’s a good one or not.