CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

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, Ewan McGregor, Warwick Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Ian MacShane, Stanley Tucci
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Screen Writer: Darren Lemke, David Studney, Christopher McQuarrie
  • Producer: Bryan Singer, David Dobkin, Patrick McCormick, 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

    Hahaha

    Comedy-drama from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo. Two friends, one a film director and the other a critic, discover their lives overlap more than they thought

    On Film4: 7 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4

    The Day He Arrives

    Comedy-drama from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo. A film director visits a friend in Seoul, but his trip begins to resemble a romantic version of Groundhog Day

    On Film4: 6 Nov 1:30AM

  • Film4

    Tower Heist on Film4

    Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy & Casey Affleck lead an all-star cast in Brett Ratner's heist comedy

  • Film4

    The Debt on Film4

    Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington & Jessica Chastain star in John Madden's Nazi-hunting thriller

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Our late-night highlight at 12.45am is @lenadunham's debut film, the sharp indie comedy-drama Tiny Furniture. http://t.co/voygfYDR8v

  • "Remain calm. Everything's gonna be okay." Just started on Film4, horror sequel The Final Destination.

  • "We're plotters. We plotted. That's a crime right?" Premiere alert! Up next at 9pm, our channel premiere of comedy caper Tower Heist.

  • In an hour at 9pm, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy & Casey Affleck are planning a high-stakes caper in Brett Ratner's Tower Heist.

  • "One by one, everybody broke - except me." Up next at 6.40pm, Naomi Watts & Sean Penn star in fact-based political thriller Fair Game.

Share