Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jack and the BS (Um, not short for beanstalk)


This is a film based on the fairy tale Jack and the beanstalk. What you have above this is a character poster for the film that show nothing... No Jack, no giants, only Eleanor Tomlinson... in golden armour. Why you ask? Because really that's one of the few things this film has going for it. Okay, well, I mean there's probably at least 14 or so things going for it. 14 our of let's say - 236.

Bryan Singer made this film. He directed it, so I am going to blame him for the failings. This is a man that years ago directed the film The usual Suspects and like Hollywood has a tendency to do, they decided he had a chance to be the next great story teller. Hey, you know what he's had his moments. XMEN, VALKYRIE... But then he did something I can never forgive... ever for as long as I live, he made Superman Returns. Single handedly destroying a cherished part of my comic loving youth (and adult self)

I was asked to go to this film. I obliged. Listen, before I carry on this here review thing, let me make it very clear... I would never hate a film simply because someone is involved with it. Every film has a blank slate when it comes to impressing me... Ok. (deep breath)

So, most of us have heard the fairy tale. A young boy finds magic beans. They fall into the ground, a giant beanstalk grows up into the sky, young boy climbs it... and discovers a magical giant kingdom. And, um, a singing harp if I remember correctly... So of course, that's a great idea to spend 200 million dollars on... (sigh)

All the elements are here. Jack grows up listening to tales of the giants, fairy tales. Another child, the princess grows up with the same tales. Then as hormonal teenagers they meet. She is a rebellious royalty, determined to prove she is no fragile woman. He is a poor man sure that he is destine for greater things. A monk that is sworn to protect the world from the giants return, steals beans from an evil guy. Jack gets the beans, goes home. Princess runs away, um, because she's all tired of being told what to do and stuff... and then it storms, and in the rainy dark she comes upon Jack's cabin. They have a moment of connection, then a bean gets wet, and BAM! Turns out all the fairy tales are true... evil guy has a magic crown to control the Giants and wants to rule the world, and Jack and the princess and Ewan Mcgregor just have to not get eaten and save the day...

Ok. There are some real positives here... one I liked the two leads. The aforementioned Eleanor Tomlinson is a true beauty, and as far as I can tell, has no thespian issues. Jack is well played by Nicholas Hoult (that dude in the Warm Bodies flick). Yes their whole romance is something you have seen, read, etc, many times, but their chemistry felt real. And was much better realized than say Snow white and the huntsmen. Also, the scene with one of them being prepared to be eaten is pretty fun. Annnnd the opening, and the way they structure both Jack and the Princess growing up with the legend, and various obstacles is well done. Really though, after we get past that... there's not much that stands out. Yes the effects are really pretty, and the music is epic, but there is nothing that makes this film worthy of future shelf space.

First of all the Giants. Could they have been scary? Yes. I mean they freaking eat people. Should they have be scary? Yes. Instead what we get are big dumb things that pick their noses and fart all the time.
Oh right those two attractive leads are defs in trouble from that giant farting thing! There really isn't a villain. Ya there's a guy that wants to rule the world, but he has like ten lines in the whole film. And um, he was set up as a romantic opposition to Jack? Then they just don't ever touch on that again. Some of the lines are just horrible. For instance you are climbing a giant beanstalk into the sky, and Jack looks at you and asks about the giants... to which you (you being a knight) respond with "I don't fear what isn't real". Or something like that. Really? Giants aren't real. You are climbing a giant beanstalk that goes into the sky... probably a safe bet to assume the rest of the fairy tale is real.

So, um - swords and spears useless, but a few bees... who knew
There is just so much thrown in without any plausible explanation. For instance as the picture says above. Bees... little bees, take down one. I mean that would be the equivalent of someone throwing a handful of little mosquitoes at me. Annoying - yes, deadly (West Nile exclusions to this analogy) No! I mean how freaking small is a bee to a 50 foot giant? Another scene in the film clearly shows three characters at the edge of a cliff. The shot shows about 50-60 yards behind them. Nothing there, just rock and grass. Then, say, 5 seconds later two giants surprise them. Where did they come from? How did they walk so lightly (the rest of the film they practically shake the ground with each step)? Oh, and lastly... the magical crown that controls them... it fit on a guys head, two heads actually, and the giant slips it over two of his fingers... that would make the characters heads what... two and a half feet wide? What?

200 million dollars. No real villain. Giant dumb things that fart, and nose pick, and are suppose to be threatening. A monk from an order to protect the earth from giants, no explanation of the order - ever. They never call him Jack the Giant Slayer. Not once. Even after the guy has single handedly killed 3 giants. Not once. That just bugged me. Things in the plot just happen with no real explanation to move the plot along... like... wait a sec, Jack is actually a herbalist that knows how to cure injury with a weed...? This is a perfect example of Hollywood throwing a ton of $$$ at a film, and expecting result instead of working in reverse and making sure the words, the story, is worth the money.

If you just want a blood less PG adventure the family can watch and have a few chuckles over, this will get the job done... and tons of bits and pieces flying out in the 3D (which looks very good)
But if you are hoping for a grand adventure tale, with peril, and heroes... and cool shields... this is not the one.
And if you are a die-hard Bryan Singer fan who believes the man can do no wrong, I implore you to go see this, just so you can feel a little of the pain he has caused... me....


Movie Scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Adventure Movie scale 2.5 our of 5 stars.

PS - There is nothing cool about throwing in a twist at the end that ties the story to modern times! What, am I suppose to leave the theatre going - Gosh giants still exist. Bad Singer!

I am really looking forward to more from miss Eleanor, and with Hoult's performance - I think I am a little more intrigued to scope out Warm Bodies.  Man Hollywood... enough with this giant budget suck stuff. No wonder you guys lose money... but I mean... blame downloading if you wanna...



wickedknitter said...

Sad to hear it's not worth the effort. I love fairy tales and was really looking forward to this film! But stupid fart monsters are not up my alley when it comes to all out win-the-girl, steal-the-treasure, earn-the-crown stories. :(

Boonsweet & Bucklesworth said...

Yes, me and cohort were just discussing that the other day. The sad, sad, state of adventure/fantasy films. Outside of lord of the rings, we just get Snow White in armour and Fart Joke giants... its looking grimm. Here's hoping we get a return to classic Crown winning, treasure thieving, girl winning... and soon!

-Chuck Boonsweet