Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Would have enjoyed as a kid

Too much going on in the story, very generic action

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Jack the Giant Slayer

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  February 26, 2013 (Premiere)/March 1, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


There’s a giant Jack…get to slayin’

Jack (Nicholas Hoult) has had a rough life.  He’s lost both his parents and now lives with his uncle on a small farm outside the kingdom.  After a chance encounter with the Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), Jack comes in contact with a monk who takes his horse in exchange for magic beans that Jack is ordered to take to the monastery.  When one of the beans is accidentally lost under Jack’s house, Jack finds himself on an adventure of a lifetime in a quest to rescue Princess Isabella from the evil giants that live on a floating island the clouds.

Directed by Bryan Singer, Jack the Giant Slayer originally was called Jack the Giant Killer.  The story is based on the old folktales of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Jack the Giant Killer”.  The film was reviewed harshly and due to the large budget, Jack the Giant Slayer was a financial failure at the box office.

Fairy tales were hot ideas at the time Jack the Giant Slayer was made.  There was a lot of interest with shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time dipping into fairy tale territory and comic book type adventures ruling the film…Jack the Giant Slayer however was ruined by a generic story and a PG-13 style adventure.


A giant with an afro…that’s funny…right?

Many people point that Singer wanted to make the movie darker, but the film was destined for a more family friendly rating to capture a larger audience.  The story itself follows many classic aspects of the tale with the beanstalk and the giant s who want to eat people, but it had to be fattened up to make a full movie.  An evil usurper named Roderick (played by Stanley Tucci) and the captain of the guard Elmont (played by Ewan McGregor) are added to amplify the story.  It just feels like filler for a movie that should be a lot shorter.  The added on ending of the final resting place of the giant crown is also rather lame (apparently planes and satellites have never detected this giant floating island).

The cast for the movie is decent, but their acting falls flat.  Nicholas Hoult (who has grown up on screen since About a Boy) is charming as Jack but is hurt by the film dialogue.  Eleanor Tomlinson tries to channel a Princess Leia type role by making a strong female, but once again she’s just a damsel in distress.  I never could determine Ewan McGregor’s role in the film since he’s not really a foil or the hero.  Stanley Tucci is the obvious bad guy and Ewen Bremner (Spud from Trainspotting) also is the basic “goofy” evil sidekick.  Ian McShane is nice (but underused) as the king and Bill Nighy and John Kassir are too computerized to be recognized as the head giant.


Scary Giants = Cool…not in this case

It is this over CGI visuals that also hurt the overall product.  The film was shot for 3D and there is constantly things flying at the screen if you watch it in 2D.  The beanstalk lacks life and looks like a fake beanstalk.  The giants start out kind of scary but quickly turn into a joke.

Jack the Giant Slayer is a very basic film.  As a kid (probably 8-12), I probably would have enjoyed the adventure aspect of it, but adults can do better.  I wish the film had dove deeper into the story and gone dark (perhaps even a Pan’s Labyrinth type of story).  Jack the Giant Slayer could kill a few hours and would have been better with a shorter running time…but seek out better adventures than this.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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