RECAP: Jack the Giant Slayer

3 Mar

I realized that many people look at film reviews as whether they should spend a dime on the film at all. Some strange people (like me) actually go for the humorous recaps. I decided to put the opinion first and recap second, just so you don’t have to scroll through endless snark, wondering to yourself if I will ever get to the point.

Also this is long. Beware.

Jack the Giant Slayer, Metacritic

This scene never happens. Just fyi.

Jack the Giant Slayer: 6/10.

Metacritic Rating: 51%

See if: You’re a fan of the cast, you’re looking for some mindless fun, or you’re curious what a film that costs $195 million looks like.

Jack and the Giant Slayer is an obvious attempt to cash on a recent trend of fairy tale movie ideas. Or it it’s an obvious attempt to cash on the fact that Hollywood is pushing Nicolas Hoult as an up and coming film star.

Or it’s an attempt to get butts into seats by making Stantly Tucci a villain and Ewan McGregor a dashing knight.

It certainly got my butt into a seat for that last reason.

Pros: It’s cute, there’s a lot of great actors in it (Stanely Tucci and Ewan McGregor for starters).

Cons: The main characters are on this side of boring, it’s long (the second act drags much longer than necessary), and what the hell happened to Jack’s uncle???

Yay or Nay? If you’re okay spending money on a movie that has a fairly weak plot, slightly useless main characters, and that critics enjoy but the public doesn’t ($25 millon opening weekend on a $200 million dollar film? Uh oh), then go right ahead.


Jack, a simple farm boy, and Isabelle, a princesses are two children dreaming of adventures. Their parents think them adorable children who want them to have adventures and then grown up, but you can just tell by the twinkle in their eye that they plan to have adventures all the live long day.

The animation used to tell the story of the giants was very nice, and how they interwove both children listening to the story was clever. Long story short, monks wanted to reach god so they grew magical beans to reach him. However, between heaven and earth are giants! When the giants were freed from their prison atop the world, they tried to take over the world and eat everyone. However, man was able to kill a giant and make a crown out of a giant’s heart. Whoever holds that crown now rules all the giants in this world because it would go against their very being not to, and humanity wins, banishing them back to the top of the beanstalk before cutting it down.

Luckily that crown (and the magic beans) were buried with the king when he died. Thankfully, no one would ever dare to dig that up. Because then we’d have no movie. Oh wait…

Flash to ten years later when BOTH of the inspiring parents are dead. Jesus. I wasn’t expecting that. Regardless, Jack is still a farm boy, but he’s now sad and poor, living with his uncle (or… grandfather? I’m assuming uncle because they said uncle but my god did that poor man look old). On the other side of the spectrum, Isabelle is a princess with a father who only wants to protect her, but she DREAMS OF MORE.

I’m just glad that this was made by Warner Brothers and not Disney because then we’d have to listen to her sing.

Jack is preparing a trip just as Jack’s uncle (I’m assuming he’s not that important if he has no name…) tells him to sell a horse and cart. And don’t get distracted because he needs to grow up and his head is too in the clouds (FORESHADOWING, COUGH COUGH).

Jack the Giant Slayer, Nicolas Hoult

Nicolas Hoult as Jack. He did this face a lot. I would call it his “Jack face,” but, let’s be real, he had more expression while as a zombie in “Warm Bodies.”

Jack, of course, gets distracted by a puppet show telling the story of the giants. Jack notices Isabelle who is looking ten different types of suspicious with her hood on, but is immediately smitten with her beauty. Because even though she’s trying to stay undercover, she manages to keep her face viewable. Of course. Unfortunately, so are others, and creepy generic men attempt to… Kidnap her? In the middle of a children’s performance? Guys, really?

Jack stands up for her and is immediately punched out. I’ll admit. I wasn’t expecting that. But his heroic deeds are for naught because the king’s knights save her and she is whisked back home. One of the knights was Ewan McGregor, and I never bothered to learn his name because it was just Ewan McGregor being attractive with a sword.

Ewan McGregot, Jack the Giant Slayer


Jack is deeply sadden by losing this beautiful girl and, about five seconds later, losing the cart as well. Silly Jack.

In some of the film’s strangest scene changes (the scene would literally fade to black… and you’d be left waiting like “wow this was short), we meet Stanley Tucci, playing his villainous counter part to his role in The Hunger Games (where I also thought he was just Stanley Tucci). He has a name, yes, and a gap tooth (which is important?), but he also had a sidekick which was literally the most annoying thing ever and I’m glad he dies.


Anyway, Stanley Tucci – excuse me, Lord Roderick, notices someone has broken into his quarters and stolen some magic beans! “After him!” Stanley-rick yells, because a monk about five minutes earlier was acting all kinds of shifty.

The monk catches up with Jack who is STILL moping about this lost cart, and manages to hoist the beans off to Jack and steal his horse. Okay, he didn’t steal it, because he promised that some monks we never ever see will pay Jack for them. But by now, Jack is just screwed.

We fade to black to a scene where Isabelle’s father, the King, played by Ian McShane (I swear, they said their names a million times, but I never managed to remember them) like “You’re marrying Stanley-rick, and that’s FINAL.” and Isabelle runs off, claiming how her mother would want her to have adventures and live her life.

Isabelle, if your mother saw how you reacted to any sort of danger, I think she would have shaken her head and told you to stay inside as well.

Jack is now home, being yelled at by his Uncle, who is beyond pissed that his nephew was dumb enough to lose both a cart and a horse, and for good reason. The house needs fixing and that was literally the only thing they could sell. We’re not going to mention that they’re on a farm with food they could sell, but this movie forgets lots of things like that, okay?

The uncle throws the beans and, of course, one of them falls through the cracks on the ground. Gasp! I wonder what will happen.

Also the Uncle mentions how he’ll have to sell Jack’s parents’ things, and I’m only telling you this because IT WILL NEVER BE BROUGHT UP AGAIN.


Cut to Isabelle running away in a very classy hat in the pouring rain, when she happens to come across a house with a light. We’re not even given the opportunity to wonder if this light is anyone but Jack’s house, because we, two seconds earlier, had watched him put the light on the house. Thank you film.

Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack the Giant Slayer

I couldn’t find a picture of her with her hat, so here’s a picture of what she did for a majority of the movie – be pretty and useless.

The two talk for a few minutes in what we are supposed to believe is flirtatious banter. I was just watching to see if  the bean, which should never get wet!!, would get wet. With as much chemistry as the two leads had, they could have cut the dialogue and just had the beanstalk grow. Alas.

The beanstalk does grow, despite a cute but random cat (that we never see again. This is slowly becoming a theme of this film) attempting to warn them of what’s to come. Isabelle disappears up the beanstalk and Jack falls to the ground, surprisingly not breaking his back in the fall.

The next morning has all the king’s horses and all the king’s men AND King Ian McShane staring down at Jack, demanding an explanation for where his daughter is.

In short, this scene is to get Jack, Stanley-rick, and Ewan McGregor up the beanstalk, but I find this scene fascinating for one reason: Jack’s uncle comes running up, demanding what has Jack done to his house. Which is understood! That was this man’s livelihood, his existence, and…

We never see Jack’s Uncle again.


He literally vanishes from uselessness and therefore is not brought up again. This man just lost his house and, presumably, his last remaining family member, and he apparently dies off screen. I literally spent the next hour wondering how they were going to explain this to Jack’s uncle, but just like the cat that no on listened to, he will never be seen again.

What’s fasinactig is that the horse is brought up again. But more on that later.

Jack, Stanley-rick, Stanley-rick’s minion, Ewan McGregor, Ewan McGregor’s best friend who has like five lines of dialogue so you know his ass is grass, and a few others begin the climb up the beanstalk. Stanley-rick’s minion cuts the rope that holds all the others, which is adorable, considering that they had all the food. But food is not consumed in this movie, and even though it takes them days to climb, that is not an issue.

They finally reach the top and man, it is gorgous. Probably becuase they filmed in the same woods that inspired JRR Tolkein to write The Lord of the Rings, but then again, maybe not.

I could go into describing the hunt for Isabelle but I’m bored even just thinking about it. She stayed in a cage for most of the movie, screamed a lot, and looked way too pretty for having been in a cage for days.

But essentially, Stanley-rick had brought with him the giant-controlling crown, and plans to wage war on humanity, with the giants as his fighters. I don’t know how no one saw that coming, considering he was about five seconds away from twirling his mustache in evil the entire film. But I love Stanley Tucci, so he gets a pass on attempting to gnaw at the scenery.

Stanley Tucci, Jack the Giant Slayer

Really guys? You believed Stanley-rick was on your side with this outfit?

However, the giants do not want to be ruled, and one giant, Fallon (voiced by Bill Nighy, or the same voice as Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean) wants to rule them all. I wish I could go into more detail why but… it’s not given. He just does. Some other giants, such as, Fi, Fie, Fo, and Fum, do not actually approve of Fallon’s manically plans but why is never given.

What I think bothers me the most about this film is that there was such an incredible world of the giants. Obviously you had to tie in the humans because many people, like me, will go see this film for the stars and not the CGI-ed voice acted not that attractive giants. But there had to be some details they could have given us.

For instance, the King who defeated the giants is called King [Whatever his name is] the Great, while the Giants called him The Terrible. Which makes sense, because history is written by those who won. Why couldn’t we have given the giants more of a character instead of just “I wish to rule all of humanity and EAT THEM.”

Seriously? Even Stanley-rick’s character had more motivation that that, and he might as well had “I AM EVIL” stamped on his head.

The movie is beginning to drag at this point, but I am still a determined viewer.

Jack and Ewan McGregor save Isabelle, they manage to defeat some giants, and escape the giant’s layer. There’s a cute moment when one of Jack’s plans seem to have no worked and everyone is like “Great going, you messed up again.” But when it does, it was… average.

The awkward part was when Isabelle hugs Jack for saving them, and Ewan McGregor looked very, very upset by this. Thought they were going to go into some subplot about how he loved the princess, but I feel like that was cut for the sake of time. Thank god. This film was already clocking at just under 2 hours.

Jack and Isabelle climb down the beanstalk, and Ewan McGregor waits for Stanley-rick to fight the crown away. That was an impressive fight, mainly because it was the two actors I cared about in the same scene, but after Stanley-rick dies, Ewan McGregor shouts in horror as Fallon takes the crown and wears it as a ring. It was a little strange, but hey. He was king of the giants now.

Fallon, Jack the Giant Slayer

I could go into detail about the second head, but the film didn’t. I think that means I don’t have to either.

Back at camp, King Ian McShane has agreed with a shifty general that they should chop down the beanstalk. Shifty general was so shifty that I thought he was working along with the giants, but he was actually a good guy.

In an epic shot of beanstalk cutting, they manage the CHOP IT DOWN! Pity for our heroes, who, if anyone forgot, are currently climbing down the beanstalk. Ewan McGregor jump onto it like a boss, and the giants are all sad, until they remember that Stanley-rick had a bag of beans left. AW YEAH. TIME FOR GIANT FIGHTING.

But not yet. More attempts at plot.

Stop looking at me like that, I didn’t write the movie.

Jack and Isabelle make it safely down (and Ewan McGregor almost is crushed by the castle but is FUCKING AWESOME and lands in the moat), and King Ian McShane is so greatful for Jack protecting his daughter that he leaves him.

That’s right. The King basically says “Thanks for saving my daughter. Sorry the beanstalk destoryed your home and apparently rendered your uncle useless, but LOL sucks to be you!”

Oh and there’s a shot of Isabelle in her battle ready armor that they keep showing in the marketing, which is funny, because she proceeds to do nothing battle worthy in it.

Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack and the Beanstalk

You know, Isabelle, I just don’t think you are.

Jack looks ten different types of forlorn as he looks around his empty land until he sees his horse again!

Really. The horse? What about the Uncle that told you to sell the horse? Did you completely forget about him-

Oh remember those magic beans the Giants found? Well now they’re coming down and Jack has to ride the magically appearing horse to warn the kingdom and so they can save the day!

…I guess we’ll get to the uncle later?

Jack does warn the King and Isabelle and some other useless characters (useless cause they all die in the next two minutes) and they ride to the castle. I don’t know how Jack magically ends up like twenty feet behind them when he was almost in front of them, but it helps to built DRAMATIC TENSION as Ewan McGregor (who we’re not going to mention how he survived that crash into the moat? Okay) stares dramatically for Jack to make it.

I would have said I held my breath, but seriously? Jack was going to make it.

Then there is fighting. I’m not going to lie. The fighting is a little lame, but the tactics are cool. Like, the archers shoot oil into the lake creating a SEA OF FIRE between the giants and the castle. The giants then use the fire to light up trees and through them over the castle walls. On the one hand, THE ENVIRONMENT, NOOOO. On the other, nice use of the… uh, environment.

The big bad giant, Fallon, proceeds to jump in and get all burned. I’m sure he was pushed in, but it would fit with his character if he jumped in, guns ablazing. So he’s burnt a lot but he doesn’t die, because we need Jack and Isabelle to actually do something. He notices a water pathway and swims towards it.

Meanwhile, Isabelle and Jack are walking through that pathway, and the camera zooms in on a coffin that’s been broken into. It’s the coffin of the king who had the crown and the beans.


So they run and run and are almost there but Fallon bursts into the throne room and tries to eat them. Jack pulls out the last bean he’s kept on his person (I don’t know why. I would have gotten rid of them asap after seeing what could happen), and drops it down Fallon’s through. Fallon becomes a beanstalk (which is a shitty way to die).

Outside, the giants are about to eat everybody and the King and Ewan McGregor have some glorious “oh shit” faces when Jack, of all people puts os on the crown and says, bow.

Which… why? I mean, shouldn’t Isabelle have put on the crown becuase it was her ancestor? Oh, Jack was a simple farm boy, but with a magical crown he’s… uh.. a king?

Even Aladdin did this better. Come on.

ANYWAY, the giants are defeated, and Jack and Isabelle have children who they were, in fact, telling this story to. And then the film flashes to the present day (or the future? I couldn’t tell…) where a tour group is looking at the crown.

The entire tour group leaves except this one boy who smiles and has gap teeth. We’re supposed to assume that it’s the …relative of Stanley-rick BUT WHEN DID HE HAVE KIDS?


My thoughts? If you’re looking for a film to waste 2 hours of your life (and your money), then go see it. It’s fairly fun, some of the fight scenes are nice, and it’s always glorious to see Ewan McGregor or Stanley-rick… I mean, Stanley Tucci on the big screen.

But if little plot mistakes, really boring leads, and an overall bland group of villians bothers you, I’d pass.

Sorry that this was so long, but I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS, OKAY? The poor Uncle will never know his nephew was a hero because he simply vanished. That poor man.


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