Friday, March 1, 2013

Jack The Giant Slayer

Can't get enough
Jack The Giant Slayer is a Hollywood retelling of the classic Jack and The Beanstalk story, with magical creatures, a princess, and Spud and Renton from Trainspotting. What may discourage a lot of viewers from this film is that instead of it being a stupid and modern blockbuster, it is instead a classic fairy tale. It has all the essentials: a boy wanting an adventure, priceless treasures, a damsel in distress, underdog turned king, mythical creatures, and true love. I was actual pleasantly surprised with the direction that Bryan Singer has very talented hands and he knows much better than to let a film become Transformers or Pearl Harbor, instead makes a relatively simple story based on the jack and the beanstalk fable. The romance is very subtle, as well as the action scenes. This is the opposite of a Michael Bay film. What is important here is the story and all the other little things come second. Singer is a fantastic story teller and really knows how to create a scene and built some pretty impressive tension. If I had my choice (other than directing X-Men films for the rest of his life) I would have Singer direct a horror film. There were quite a few moments where I was on the edge of my seat. The writing is also very clever. The way the scenes pan out was some of most noteworthy in recent film history. On top of that, the charming performances elevated the already clever script into something that I really cared about. This is one of the few exceptions that I believe that it is ok for the actors to have Brittish accents in a fantasy film. I liked all the characters and was really hoping nobody would die, something that I rarely think. My favorite character was the Giant General. He was badass and had some depth to him, complete with some great voice work from Bill Nighy. The Giants overall were pretty neat villains that I don't see very often. And the action scenes perfectly enhanced the film, rather than becoming the only reason for its existence. The action was added almost as filler to keep it from getting boring, because it was basically the story of a common boy, who sought adventure, saving a Princess from big monsters. The scenes were shot well, tight, exciting and you could always see what was happening. The whole film was very low key and solid. There were only two problems with this movie, but they may end up being the deal breaker: The overall aesthetic of the picture. It has a very sterile and flat look to it. It was filmed in 3D and I think that is the way the producers intended for us to see it. Movies that are filmed in 3D generally look very stale in 2D. The whole film was way too bright and that is part of the 3D, because they have to add more light because 3D inconveniences everyone. And the other problem, and this is a big one, the overall story just isn't that interesting. Granted the film is superbly made and heightened by competent performances by top of the line actors, but there is only so much you can do with the Jack and the Beanstalk story. I'm not going to say that I was disappointed, because I got more than I expected, but the story overall isn't that compelling. That isn't the fault of the filmmakers. They genuinely tried to make a fantasy film that feels both fresh and classic at the same time. The overall film feels like a swashbuckling fable from the 30's and that is really something that I applaud the producers for trying. In a way, it failed, but I would say "A for
The man, the myth, the legend
effort" because everything about the film is so solid, and it really is the opposite of a lot of blockbusters. The filmmakers tried to make a quality film out of a tried and true property, complete with good performances and a smart attention to detail and it absolutely never once tried to be anything more than it is. In many ways, this is the anti Transformers. Another good comparison to this is Speed Racer; it works for fans of the source and I can see why some may not like it. I am a fan of Bryan Singer and I might go as far as to rank him as a tier 2 director up there with Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg, so I enjoyed this film, because it is a quality film, but it had no reason to be made. So I say give this a watch only if you need a fix of fantasy action films, or maybe you just want to see a film from a competent filmmaker. Otherwise, I won't be heartbroken if you give this a pass
    -L.K

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