The giants in “Jack the Giant Slayer” are big—and mean—and follow the trend into Marvel comic book territory.
Photo by Courtesy Warner Bros.
"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum--ask not whence the thunder comes," begins "Jack the Giant Slayer."
"For between heaven and earth, it's a perilous place, home to a fearsome giant race, who hunger to conquer the mortals below, waiting for the seeds of revenge to grow."
This little ditty of kiddy poetry is repeated about a hundred times in the film. It may not be exactly a hundred times, but it certainly feels like at least a hundred times. And this little kiddie rhyme told at least 100 times reveals far too much.
Let me put it this way: You may be eating your popcorn, absent-mindedly rubbing some butter from your chin, pondering where whence the thunder comes (there's lots of thunder in the movie) and BAM, you get bonked with the answer. GIANTS.
Not to get too technical in a low-concept film, but this movie is about giants and a slayer of giants named Jack. There is a girl, because there has to be a girl, and she needs to be saved.
The movie, directed by Bryan Singer ("The Usual Suspects," "X-Men," "Valkryie") opens with the Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum recitation. (Please see above for more details). Under a thatched roof, an 8-year-old boy named Jack begs his father to read the rhyming tale again. Magic beans, giants, King Eric and his crown are all part of the story.
"Tell me, dear old dad, about the giants," whines Little Jack. He's a simple boy--Simple Jack.
The story about giants happens to be popular among the royals. In the same kingdom, the young princess Isabelle asks her mother, the Queen, to repeat the story.
Singer jumps over the ugly adolescent years and picks up the story 10 years later. Nothing much has changed, except that Jack (Nicholas Hoult from "Warm Bodies") and Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) are 18. Having been spoon-fed on stories of stalks, beans and giants, these radically different, but perfectly gorgeous young people are ready for
Pesky things stand in the way. Isabelle is betrothed to Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), a slimy nobleman with a buck-toothed sidekick, who thankfully gets eaten by the Giants. Go Giants.
Jack's gentle soul of a father has passed away, and Jack's stuck tilling the fields. His milky-eyed uncle (Christopher Fairbank) pushes Jack to sell his white horse. (I know: Jack rides a white horse. Bring a puke bag.)
Sadly, Jack's not much a horse trader. Jack stops at the "Beanstalk and Giants" show. There he falls in love with Isabelle, who is royally smiling at the spectacle of Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum (I wasn't embellishing when I said the rhyme is repeated 100 times.)
Lo and behold, Jack and Isabelle find themselves on the very same adventure of the kiddy ditty. Magic? Fate? Bad writing? I leave that for you to decide.
"Jack the Giant Slayer" transforms a public-domain fairy tale into a Marvel-comic-styled movie. This fairy-tale-on-steroids approach appears to be the latest Hollywood trend. Singer plops Simple Jack into $100 million worth of special effects. He makes a superhero out of a zombie-like farm boy and super villains out of giants. The giants are spectacular. They are big--real big. And mean--scary mean. The meanest giant in the bunch has two heads. Giants like to chomp on mortal meats and take over the world for no good reason.
Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, take cover now and run, for this putzie movie is poorly spun. It's an empty vapid tale, and it will surely make a grown man wail. But it gets worse my friends, far worse. For the young lassies and ladies may like this flick just fine, and with a PG-13 rating, some parents may have to sit through the grungy grind.