Jack the Giant Slayer is a visually spectacular adventure that borrows from two classic fairytales, Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer. The result is a formulaic story about a peasant who saves a princess from giants that live in the clouds, and a king who doesn't mind his daughter's wishes. It’s true that Jack the Giant Slayer is a film that follows the classic fairytale formula closely, but in this case that actually works to the film’s advantage.
Director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) remembers why kids like fairytales: because they’re fantastical, a little bit ridiculous, and a whole lot of fun. In the end things always turn out happily ever after, and there’s really no reason not to meet that expectation. Jack the Giant Slayer is an escapist film for the whole family and, while it definitely won’t speak to you on an intellectual level, you’ll enjoy the ride—if you’ll allow yourself to be a kid again.
You know the basics of this story already: Jack (Nicholas Hoult) trades his family horse for magic beans that, when planted, grow into a beanstalk that reaches the heavens. In this tale there’s a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) who wants true love and a villain (Stanley Tucci) who has a magic crown that can enslave all giants, but these additions serve only to solidify Jack the Giant Slayer as a completely original reimagining
There’s a lot of people-eating and some epic battles, but the tone remains consistently fun, even when things seem dire for the kingdom of Cloister Albion. For a movie that is loaded with giants made almost entirely with CGI, somehow the effects never seem to get in the story’s way, which is more than can be said for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.