Film review: Jack the Giantslayer (7 out of 10)

Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson and Nicholas Hoult in Jack the Giantslayer.
Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson and Nicholas Hoult in Jack the Giantslayer.

The latest in the recent crop of children’s fantasy/fairy stories for the big screen is arguably the best so far.

Last year’s two Snow White movies were OK and the recent Oz film was pretty good, while Hansel and Gretel proved a much darker story that didn’t hit the mark.

The rumours are that we could see Cinderella, Tarzan, Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid all remade to slot into what is a lucrative market.

However, they need to entertain a wide audience in order to be successful.

Jack the Giantslayer manages to do just that, and the 12A certificate is probably just about right as there are a few moments that could give younger ones nightmares.

The strongest element of the film is the plot which takes part of the old fairytale and works round that.

The movie starts with a young Jack and Princess Isabelle being told the Giant story by their respective parents.

We learn that the giants came to Earth from their land in the clouds but were forced back with the use of a magical crown.

Years later Jack sets off to the castle to sell a horse and cart but gets waylaid once there by a monk with some beans...

There is an added element to the plot with a rather unpleasant knight who has his own agenda when the giants threaten. However, Stanley Tucci plays the role to perfection, veering away from being over the top.

Nicholas Hoult as Jack further reveals he has a good career ahead after performing well in last month’s excellent Warm Bodies.

Ewan McGregor, as the knight Elmont, uses his posh British accent which always sounds slightly strange but is at his bucaneering best.

Eleanor Tomlinson as the princess doesn’t get too much chance to shine, while Eddie Marsen (a knight) and Ian McShane (the king) are welcome additions.

However, the best roles belong to the giants. They are as ugly and unpleasant as you would expect, with a penchant for eating humans.

Bill Nighy voices the main giant and each one has a strong character and adds to the movie, rather than being used as two dimensional characters.

The 3D is effective but doesn’t really make an enormous difference.

Overall, a very entertaining family film.

Film details: Jack the Giantslayer (12A) 114mins

Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy (voice)

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne