Fairy-tale reboot movies are in the stages of breaking out into an almost zombie-like plague, much as actual zombie movies have in fact done. With Beastly, Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, Oz the Great and Powerful and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters being in cinemas recently and with Grimm and Once Upon A Time on TV, we really are spoiled for choice. However, these reinventions work best when they play with the subject matter. At the end of the day, we know these stories to the point of cliché, and retreading the same ground doesn’t do anything for anyone, especially if you make them too PG for the child audiences who don’t mind such things.
Jack the Giant Slayer is almost literally the actual plot of the fairy tale retold in larger form, with a princess-kidnapped plot and an evil vizier sub-plot included filling up the action. Jack is played adequately by Hoult, but not much is really expected from him except to look young and heroic. McGregor plays the captain of the kings guard who joins in the mission to save the princess, and Bill Nighy has a wonderful comedic-yet-evil part as one of the heads of the two-headed Giant King. Evil Viziering duties are handled adequately by Stanley Tucci, another veteran actor.
The problem is that aside from these elements put in to fill up the time, the plot is exactly as one would expect. The CG is nice and I feel a tween audience would enjoy it most, as there are a couple dark moments for children. (Decide for youself how jaded and cynical your children are before exposing them to this; I don’t know how much eTV kids watch these days and what they may have seen already).
This is a fun movie I suppose, with some good action scenes and nothing especially wrong with it but best suited to a lazy Sunday when there’s nothing else on TV.