Jack the Giant Slayer is literally following in the footsteps of revisionist screen fairy-tales such as Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror and Once Upon a Time.
But this modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk is no-average retread fantasy-adventure. Sure the movie reportedly cost $200 million to produce and originally was set to hit theaters in June 2012. However, X-Men Director Bryan Singer's latest film offers a good old-fashioned adventure where evil is evil, and good is pure and true throughout the movie.
Nicholas Hoult, in the title role, unintentionally reignites an ancient war between an army of men and race of giants from a land that hangs between heaven and earth. Jack sets out to sell his uncle's horse and cart, returning, as expected, with some "valuable" beans. These beans come with a warning: "Whatever happens, don't get the beans wet!"
After a giant beanstalk sprouts, the wayward princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is captured by the giants, spurring a rescue party comprised of Jack; Elmont (Ewan McGregor), a brave knight tasked with protecting her; and Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), an evil royal with designs on the kingdom.
Although the movie traces a parallel path with the old storybook version, it's Jack and the Beanstalk like you've never seen before. Without revealing spoilers, it's fun, funny and the film had me on the edge of my seat.
Fans of “The Lord of the Rings” movies will not be disappointed by the film's fantasy-epic scope. Far from being family friendly, Jack the Giant Slayer (rated PG-13) is not a movie for small children. Although silly, the giants are scary and gross looking. The battles are fierce, but the violence is not gratuitous or bloody.
This movie, though, is one of the cleanest PG-13 films I've seen, which will make my almost 12-year-old son very happy. It's a truly enjoyable story, where evil is bad and good is honorable from start to finish.
Content Watch: Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality. Surprisingly, although deaths were portrayed, the good guys who perished never died on-screen—it was implied. The bad guys who came to their end were also handled with care. Although the princess wears a dress that exposed some cleavage, purity is carried into the romance storyline.
Alan Mowbray is a husband, father of two children and technical writer for an Orlando, Fla., area software company. Click here to visit his blog.