Reviewer: Charity Bishop
This film hasn't done as well at the box office as it deserves to. This is mostly due to poor advertising and bad trailers. I had no interest going in, but much to my surprise, completely enjoyed it.
Both Jack (Nicholas Hoult) and Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) grew up hearing the same legend about magic beans, man-eating giants, and a beanstalk that grew into the heavens and brought trouble down to earth. As legend has it, the giants were forced to retreat when the melted heart of one was turned into a crown, the beanstalk cut down, and the few remaining bean seeds are hidden in a secret place. Their love of this fantastical tale is not the only thing they have in common -- each yearns for adventure. This causes Isabelle to wander out into the land unaccompanied. She is rescued from harassment in the tavern by the clueless Jack.
Isabelle is about to be married to the much older nobleman Roderick (Stanli Tucci). But unbeknownst to either her or her kingly father (Ian McShane), he is far more interested in the crown than in a wife. His interest in the magic beans sends a monk scampering into the marketplace carrying them. He trades them to Jack for his horse -- and from there, the adventure begins. The beanstalk grows. The princess is taken up to the land of the giants. And Jack and the Knight Elmont (Edwan McGregor) must rescue her... hopefully without awakening the giants.
What is wrong with this movie that audiences seem to be ignoring it? I don't know and frankly it's kind of sad, considering the budget and talent involved. It's nice to see some relatively unknown actors have a chance at the big screen along the likes of better known and successful thespians. This film is living proof that there's "no part too small" for a great actor and although not everyone lasts for long, they entertain, divert, and amuse us along the way. The script drags a little in places but also has wonderful moments of humor (even if it can be a little juvenile at times -- with flatulent, booger-eating giants) and the main characters are all likable. If there's one fault, it may be that the heavy emphasis on a computer-generated world makes the giants seem a little less threatening than they might have been otherwise. But then, we've seen camera tricks so often, maybe it's time for a two-headed giant.
The costuming is nothing to write home about and some of it is downright impractical (unless you're an Elf, who would wear golden armor into battle?). There is a little bit of romance but people are busier surviving than smooching. One thing it did quite well was shift between the hero and heroine's lives as they unfolded, showing both their similarities and differences before they meet one another. It's tough to juggle real and CGI creatures but the director handles it well. One of the better offerings in a recent slew of "fairy tales revised," it's cleaner than Red Riding Hood, and far less violent than Hansel & Gretel, but still a bit grisly in places. For a film I had no interest in, thanks in part to dismal marketing, it was a frolicking good time.
Mild profanities, both American and British.
Giants chew off men's heads and bite them in half (off-screen, but we sometimes see corpses flying around); a giant bites into a lamb and skewers pigs (also off-screen); men and giants are shot with arrows, stabbed, thrown off cliffs, and force-fed beans (it explodes out of a giant, with carnage).
Belching, farting, and booger-eating.