Review: Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack The Giant Slayer - Credit: PA

The problem with bringing a fairytale to the big screen in 2013 is that, well, we know the story. Case in point: any child can recite the giant's (frankly terrifying) ditty fee-fi-fo-fum from Jack and the Beanstalk in full before they've even started reception.

Which means, even if you are choosing a lesser-filmed fairytale like Jack, you still have a long way to go to impress an audience.

Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer is clearly conscious of this: for a start, he changed the name to something a little more, well, action-y.

And it definitely is – the scary-looking giants, for a start, transpire to be an easily mobilised armed hoard, determined to take over the earth to satisfy their hunger. Eek.

But no fear: Jack (Nicholas Hoult) and swashbuckling knight Elmont (a very funny Ewan McGregor) are not intending to let them.

In case you're worried, all the classics are still in there and importantly, it has the comedy — and it is comedy which appeals to all ages.

Farm boy Jack (Hoult) heads into town to sell his horse and cart. He encounters a monk (Simon Lowe) bearing a pouch of stolen beans. 'Those beans have the power to change the world. Don't lose them and whatever you do, don't get them wet!' the holy man instructs Jack.

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That night, a sudden deluge of rain causes one of the seeds to take root and a beanstalk rises terrifyingly into the sky, taking with it Jack's home and Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson).

When King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) learns of his daughter's fate, he organises a search party including valiant knight Elmont (McGregor), his right-hand man Crawe (Eddie Marsan), Isabelle's conniving fiance Roderick (Stanley Tucci), snivelling sidekick Wicke (Ewen Bremner) and Jack.

Atop the beanstalk, they discover an army of gargantuan warriors led by two-headed General Fallon (Bill Nighy, John Kassir) and his lieutenants, Fee, Fye, Foe and Fumm.

Singer has created a well-thought out retelling of one of our favourite stories, with clever elements and a beautifully imagined world which will get the nod of approval from the grown-ups and is a great option to keep the kids entertained on a rainy day.

Just one word of warning for those planning on taking little ones during the Easter holidays: those giants are scary.


Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, and the voice of Bill Nighy

Length: 114 mins