Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Jack the Giant Slayer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Profanity:Brief strong language
Nudity/Sex:Kissing
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Extended fantasy and action violence, characters in peril, injured, and killed, some graphic and disturbing images, monsters
Diversity Issues:Class issues, strong female character
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 17, 2013

More action, more romance, more spectacle, a brave princess who wears armor and does not wait to be rescued, and lots more giants — this is a grand bedtime story 21st century-style.  As a boy, Jack (“Warm Bodies” Nicholas Hoult) loved to hear the stories about the time that giants ruled the earth and the magical crown that keeps them confined to their home above the clouds.  It turns out they were more than stories.

As a young man, Jack lives with his uncle, who sends him to town to sell their horse.  The movie Jack is a bit less credulous than the one in the story.  He does end up with magic beans, but not because he believes a story about them. He is given them by a man desperate to keep them from being used to bring the giants back to earth.

Jack is warned not to let the beans anywhere near water, but you know what happens.  Pretty soon a beanstalk grows five miles up into the sky, taking Jack’s house with it.  And, since Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) happened to stop by Jack’s house to get out of the rain, she is up the beanstalk, too.  The king sends a rescue squad after her led by Roderick, his highest-ranking courtier and — despite her objections — Isabelle’s fiancé.  Also making the climb are a group of soldiers led by Elmont (a gallant but under-used Ewan McGregor), and a volunteer — Jack.

And they find a big community of giants — all male, which may explain some of their anger issues as well as a disturbing lack of attention to personal hygiene.  Production designer Gavin Bocquet and costume designer Joanna Johnston have created an eye-filling world that feels fairy tale fantastic but not musty or old-fashioned.  Aside from a few clunkers in the dialog (in no fairy tale is it ever appropriate for a character to say “okay” or “pissed off”), it remains inventive and entertaining.  The giants are imaginatively designed, with the leader a motion capture performance by Bill Nighy (as at least one of the two heads).  Tucci clearly enjoys himself as the ruthlessly ambitious courtier and it is a nice twist to have the real bad guy be someone more close to home than the giants.  Jack and Isabelle have a sweet and almost immediate connection, wasting little time on the usual back-and-forth of learning to trust themselves and each other.  And that makes the idea of a happily ever after ending even more satisfying.

Parents should know that this movie includes a great deal of fantasy/action violence, with characters injured and killed and some scary monsters and disturbing images like skeletons and skulls and an eye that pops out — plus some giant nose-picking.  There is also some gross/crude humor and brief strong language.

Family discussion: What is Roderick’s plan?  How does he show that he cannot be trusted?  What does Jack to to earn the respect of Elmont and Isabelle?  What does Roderick mean by saying that they all think of themselves as the hero of the story?

If you like this, try: Disney’s “Mickey and the Beanstalk” and “A Knight’s Tale”



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment grok87

    Just saw this and liked it. The movie is very visually appealing and well done. Their is a lot of clever interplay in the dialogue, especially in drawing the parallels between Jack and Isabelle early on.
    While I enjoyed the movie, I felt i dragged a little bit toward the end. But largely I think they pulled off the combination of a big special effect type movie with some wit and heart.
    cheers,

    • Nell Minow

      Agreed, grok87! Thanks!

Previous Posts

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Actors Of Color Discuss Racial Stereotypes In Hollywood
Film Courage produced this excellent and very compelling film with actors of color talking about the challenges they face in Hollywood. If we did a better job of representing diversity in film, we would not just tell better stories and tell stories better, we would make better progress toward under

posted 8:00:49am Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Annie
The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corpora

posted 5:59:13pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Fans of the first two "Night at the Museum" films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibi

posted 5:23:46pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Listen to People's Lives: David Plotz's Working Podcast
Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel's classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has paid tribute to that great work in the best possible way, by updating it with his podcast seri

posted 3:59:23pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.