Hollywood needs to stop handing out budgets of $200 million to people like it is pocket money, because it is not, and 99 percent of these humongous budget movies fail to do what is expected of them – entertain. It is harder to please audiences nowadays, but in this day and age, no one wants to pay a premium to watch a terribly scripted tech demo of colossal visual effects.
Jack The Giant Slayer is a mess from start to finish. The romance is painfully clichéd, the adventure is dull and the only thing Giant in the film is its budget. As the film goes on it becomes increasingly shocking to assimilate the fact that the writer-director team of Christopher McQuarrie and Bryan Singer who made The Usual Suspects have been responsible for the muddle on screen. Singer seems like a two hit wonder thanks to the horrid Superman Returns and the even worse Valkyrie that preceded this film and it is not hard to figure out why he has decided to direct the next X-Men installment next. In Jack the Giant Slayer Singer comes dangerously close to demonstrating that the genius behind Keyser Soze’s story was a fluke. Not only does he fail to create a fresh or likable bunch of central characters but he also fails to create a sense of adventure despite the $200 million CGI entrusted to him.
The film tries to be a radical adult version of the ‘Jack and the beanstalk’, here we have a young man (a miscast Nicholas Hoult) as a farm boy who falls for the princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) and inadvertently chances upon a bunch of fabled magic beans. Upon contact with water the beans sprout into a giant tree that connects the kingdom to the land of the villainous giants. One thing leads to another and Jack sets off with the king’s elite guard to rescue the princess – a plot that seemed stale even when Super Mario Bros came out. Like Snow White and the Huntsman last year, the film falsely promises to offer a twisted and unique take on a beloved children’s property. What it does offer is a dreadfully written villain (played by Stanley Tucci) whose backstory and intentions were either left on the cutting room floor or were never scripted to begin with.
The giants are incredibly detailed, each one of them has a distinct character – Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum are given some serious screentime and even some character dynamics which is a nice touch. The giants are also quite disgusting, some dig their noses and then taste their fingers – something kids will enjoy giggling over. The humans are quite terribly sketched though, each given worse dialogue and motives than the next. Seeing as the film fails completely in story and character, one expects to at least see a decent CGI demo. The special effects are great and expensive looking no doubt, but not something you have never seen in cinema before. The characters stare at the imagery as if there is something epic going on but you never once share their sentiment, and the 3D feels as tacked on as ever. The action and big finale are downright boring and everyone involved in the film seems constantly confused about its target audience. Hopefully Singer’s X-Men reunion won’t disappoint as well.