The dark re-imagining of classic fairy-tales has become a bizarre trend of recent cinema, all sharing the unfortunate traits of inconsistent tones and overall mediocrity. The newest of the bunch is Jack the giant slayer, hoping to scrub off the naff fairy-tale stereotype with its reimagining of the tale ‘Jack and the beanstalk’ by possessing an intelligently advanced narrative and militant towering giants.
With an imaginative and accomplished tale acting as the baseline plot, Jack the giant slayer does a brilliant job in making the story fresh and original providing an intelligent twist in the tale. Hollywood influence may have given the story an air of predictability throwing in a king, a princess, a blatant villain and the ‘average Joe’ underdog as Jack, however this shows to coagulate with the original tale feeling like a warm and assuring bedtime story. Taking a while to find its feet we find ourselves procrastinating in the human kingdom of Cloister for perhaps a little too long as Jack is introduced, to instant appeal, and the plot is set in stone as the familiar tale plays out with Jack’s purchase of the magic beans. Soon enough once the princess spontaneously and coincidentallyturns up on Jacks door on a thunderous evening, the bean fertilises and reveals the stories anchor of the beanstalk behemoth as the princess is unwillingly pulled along with it, prompting a rescue.
Once the realistically laborious task of reaching the top is achieved, we are introduced to the giant’s kingdom and the dirty, disgusting giants themselves. Despite aesthetically looking like CGI blobs the giants act in a way which is playful and dumb without being childish and terrifying, providing a handful of laughs as well as moments of surprising disgust. Unlike the dark twist in other recent fairy-tale adaptations, this gritty feature in Jack the giant slayer works to excellent effect acting as a necessary and relevant asset to the story. Marked with a 12A certificate, the violence consistently pushes the boundaries feeling surprisingly grim at times as the knight’s gallop from bloodthirsty giants, ripping bystander’s heads off and discarding their bodies as trash. This however never feels out of place, like an overactive childish imagination nothing is beyond violent reason. This does not excuse however the bombardment of whimsical dialogue that is spoken from the mouths of these stereotypical yet enticing characters. No child let alone adult audience member wants to witness a statement of love to one another as Jack and the princess descend the tumbling beanstalk before they nonsensically and unnecessarily swing to safety on a vine. Scenes such as this one appear sporadically throughout the film momentarily disrupting the even tone for something more undeniably idiotic.
Jack the giant slayer should certainly not be compared to its dismal cinematic fairy-tale counterparts proving to be far more original and creative in its narrative, paving the way for a thoroughly enjoyable family romp. Its chances of success are squandered by a perhaps expected whimsical shroud of dialogue and slap-stick scenes of action, however this doesn't distract from the heavily immersive and entertaining story at hand.
6.5/10- A simple yet delightful twist on the classic tale.