Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Adventure, Fantasy
  • 2013
  • 114 mins

Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack The Giant Slayer

Synopsis

Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) retells Jack And The Beanstalk as a live-action/CGI/3D extravaganza.

About

"Well that went down better than I expected," declares farmboy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) to princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) after the young lovers, in an uncontrolled descent from a gigantic collapsing beanstalk, narrowly avoid impalement on a ploughshare. Jack's words may well reflect what many viewers feel about this latest effects-heavy blockbuster from Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men), which, without ever quite breaking the mould of fairytale adaptations, manages to be charming enough as undemanding matinee-style entertainment.

The film's storybook origins are advertised right from the opening as deftly intercut scenes show the pre-teen Jack and Isabelle each having the legend of the giants read to them by their respective parents, and their dreams of escapist adventure accordingly sown. Ten years later, those seeds are reaped, as Jack unwittingly comes into possession of the magic beans that will sweep him, Isabelle and a handful of others into a bigger if not better world, before bringing them crashing back down to earth.

The beanstalk bridges not only the literal space between the medieval hamlet of Cloister and the giants' floating vertical kingdom of Gantua, but also the more metaphorical gulfs between adolescence and adulthood, lower and upper social strata, fiction and reality. Singer takes viewers to cloudcuckooland while rooting his state-of-the-art CGI creatures in live action and a coda set in contemporary London. There is plenty of spectacle here, although given that Gantua is said to lie/fly between earth and heaven, we can only imagine how much more exciting things might have been if these savage, sweary monsters had chosen to take their gigantomachy upwards rather than downwards. As it is, we get adventure, romance, a castle siege, and Ewan McGregor reprising his knightly role (and even a key line) from the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Bill Nighy, Nicholas Hoult, Warwick Davis, Stanley Tucci, Ian MacShane, Ewan McGregor
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Screen Writer: David Studney, Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie
  • Producer: Patrick McCormick, Bryan Singer, David Dobkin, Neal H Moritz
  • Photographer: Newton Thomas Sigel

In a nutshell

Set somewhere between heaven and earth, Singer's slick but safe adventure occupies the middle ground of family matinee entertainment.

by Anton Bitel

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Youth

    Youth

    Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching 80, are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. The two friends know that their time is quickly running out, and they decide to face their future together.

  • Film4 The Stranger Wore a Gun

    The Stranger Wore a Gun

    Randolph Scott stars in a Western about a former spy who relocates to Ariozna to join a gold robbbery, but quickly reassesses his decision

    On Film4: 21 Apr 1:05PM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Reminder! At 11.05pm, we're screening Lee Daniels' The Paperboy for the first time: http://t.co/CXfNqfUuh3 https://t.co/EZMOxm4w1W

  • "I haven't felt this good since the day my husband died." Up next at 9pm, Ashley Judd & Tommy Lee Jones star in crime drama Double Jeopardy.

  • Now available to rent: Peter Jackson's epic Tolkien trilogy concludes in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies: http://t.co/8M3DciYXwM

  • "The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant." At 6.55pm, Jim Carrey stars in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

  • @LevitatingNun ...we can alert you next time it's on. http://t.co/kv63H4ll02

Share