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Some fairy
tales and fables are dark, while others invite a range of interpretations. This
rendering of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is pretty full-blooded, especially for a
family-oriented film, but this gives it some backbone to match its elaborate
visual effects. You’ve never seen giants quite like these before, let alone a
live-action beanstalk that rumbles from the earth and soars into the sky. Director
Bryan Singer has gathered an excellent cast, with Nicholas Hoult as the
underdog hero and likable newcomer Eleanor Tomlinson as the self-reliant princess
who inspires his bravery. The always-welcome Ewan McGregor plays her official
protector, while Ian McShane brings gravitas to his role as her father, The
King. Then there’s Stanley Tucci as the traitorous villain of the piece; like
McGregor, he always brings something special to the banquet. (I believe this
film includes his first screen swordfight, unless I dozed off during Julie & Julia.)

filmed on location at Hampton Court and other locations in England, Jack the Giant Slayer is heavily
dependent on CGI effects which are, for the most part, quite effective,
especially in 3-D. They also oblige us to believe what we see even when we know
what we’re watching is impossible. The lumbering but expressive giants were
created through the motion capture technique, drawing on performances from such
fine actors as Bill Nighy.

My only real
quarrel with Jack, other than the
intensity and violence of its battle scenes (which are too potent for younger
children), is that it goes on too long. Some people deride me for saying this
as often as I do, but when I begin to tire of a movie long before its
conclusion—without looking at my watch—there’s nothing else I can do. Jack the Giant Slayer has many good
ingredients and would have been a stronger, more satisfying movie if it had
been shorter. 

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Movies have been getting longer and longer. And it the reward of having a longer movie is that you get more character development and plot build-up then I'm all for it. But when you have to sit through a 2.5 hour movie in which the second half is one explosion after another – it gets tiresome pretty fast. Unless you have the brain of a goldfish and each explosion is fresh because you've already forgotten about the 10 explosions before it.

Roderick Cherry

I agree that "Jack" was a bit too long, but my buddy and I were pleasantly surprised by how good this movie is. And, we didn't see it in 3D, only in HD on a large (not IMAX) screen. It was better than either one of us expected. It was a rousing adventure, and full of great visual effects. The rise and fall of the beanstalks was thrilling to watch! Too bad that so few are taking the time to see this (although the large-screen theater we saw it in at 3:00 on Saturday was full), because they're missing out on the fun! Now, it's getting buried beneath "Oz."


If a film is too long, its too long. I totally empathize with Leonard Maltin on having that complaint about certain films.

Stephen Dunn

Leonard, You think movies are too long because your job is watchng movies, and you are itching to get off work. Those of us who are paying ten bucks or more to see the thing might be forgiven for not wanting to get home ASAP.

Walt Mitchell

You're right, Leonard! That's Hollywood mentality these days: "We've got all this money and all this super technology and we're going to show off every last bit of it, no matter how long it takes and no matter how bored the audience is likely to get!" Heaven forbid that they should bring home a movie that runs 75 or 80 minutes, with a budget that approaches reality! :-p!


Jack the Time Slayer, er whatever, at least they didn't remake Jack the Giant Killer..Where would we be if they couldn't name the film the same …intermission…

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