Oh dear oh dear oh dear. We decided to go to the cinema last week, but alas there was nothing good out. But with Friday came some new releases, of which there were only two of vague interest: “The Croods” and “Jack the Giant Slayer”. I’d like to say we made the wrong choice, but I’m going to see “The Croods” tomorrow so I’ll likely get a double whammy.
Where do I start? It’s yet another re-imagining of a classic fairytale, the as-yet barely touched Jack & the Beanstalk. I guess they thought they had the CGI to pull it off this time, which is a shame because they didn’t manage to get a good script, despite a cast that had proven themselves in roles before.
It twists the classic tale into something I gather was supposed to be more believable(!), with Jack coming into possession of some magic beans capable of instantly generating massive beanstalks that conveniently led directly to the floating giant kingdom. They’d been in town before and nearly destroyed the human kingdom, but were banished by a mind-control crown (!). Yeah, don’t need to bother with singing harps or golden egg-laying chickens, that just sounds ridiculous!!
Via a tenous but nonetheless predictable chain of events, a sexy (but for PC issues was also strong-willed and independent) princess gets stuck up in giantland. Not sure why they didn’t kill her instantly, as they don’t seem to have much trouble disposing of the more annoying supporting cast.
The CGI is pretty decent, though the giants were just horrid caricatures who enjoyed farting, frowning and dismembering. They had to be threatening though… easily done, just make them all Northern-Irish! Special mention goes to the lead giant’s bizarre second head that seemed to be missing a few chromosomes, breaking any dramatic tension with inane chatter.
I feel bad even naming the cast, I can imagine they want to stay anonymous. But I didn’t have any complaints about most of the goodies, even though Ewan McGregor seemed to think he was in a 1940s wartime epic. Tally ho, pip pip! Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson (no, I didn’t know either) were a likeable but forgettable pair. Stanley Tucci made a change from his usual ‘sharp-tongued but wise gay friend’ roles to play a scenery-chewing baddy that just didn’t seem to sit right with me.
That final shark-jumping moment showing the future of the crown was just the icing on the cake. Seriously?! This film was pretty rotten really, and I had to wonder who thought any of this was a good idea.
Three things I’ve stunned me about this though. Firstly, this cost $195m to make, totally astonishing, it felt like a real B-List film, and its box office returns look likely to support that. They’ll be very lucky to break even I think. Secondly, the director responsible for most of the X-Men movies – Bryan Singer – made this film. What happened?! Finally was the certification of this as a 12A. That had led me to think it was not a straight-up kids film, but in fact I saw little to appeal to adults here. Presumably too much violence (some of which unnecessarily graphic) pushed the certificate up from a PG? Really odd.
So in short, don’t go and see it. But at least it can’t be as bad as “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”… right?