Chet Greason, Popcornucopia
You have to wonder sometimes as to who exactly dreams up manufactured Hollywood trends. Take, for example, the recent spate of action-orientated, somewhat dark retellings of fairytales: Red Riding Hood, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, and now Jack the Giant Slayer.
Did anyone ask for these? Is society going through a Hans Christian Andersen revival I was not aware of? The conspiracist in me thinks there’s a boardroom somewhere headed by a well-paid CEO declaring, “The next big thing will be modern takes on the Brothers Grimm. Make it happen, boys.”
Unfortunately for Hollywood, this fabricated fab never caught on. Snow White and the Huntsman had some neat visuals, other than that this rash of retellings has passed with little fanfare.
Take Jack and the Giant Slayer. We’re all familiar with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s fairly straightforward: Boy gets beans, boy goes up beanstalk, boy kills giant, boy comes down. Was anyone jonesing for a rehash?
It’s the plot that slays this giant. As we already know the story, hearing it a billion times since childhood, this film rates Fe Fi Ho Hum.
Now, that’s a 30-year old’s perspective. It’s likely different for a young boy — which, I would imagine, is the target market here. Giant Slayer is a kid’s movie...how could it not be? There are princesses, knights, no nudity, and no swearing.
However, there are stabbings, boogers, the eating of said boogers, and farts. The violence, of which there is much, treads a fine line; sure, people’s heads are exploding and dudes are getting run through by swords, but there’s also practically no blood.
This leads me to conclude the film is geared towards the boys in the audience that are too young for Die Hard and too old for Tangled. They won’t notice the tired plot; to them, it’s all new. The fact that Princess Isabelle is one of a long line of princesses who are tired of being princesses and yearn to see the world outside the palace walls will be completely over their heads, and they’ll likely appreciate that she didn’t have to beat the crap out of Jack before she realized that she liked him.
The lowly farmboy earning his place amongst royalty might still be a revelation to them, rather than the moral parable the rest of us see, attempting to enforce the American Dream on a worn-out populace who, now more than ever, consider that whole concept to be bupkus.
In short, Jack the Giant Slayer could be that rare gem that holds the attention of your hyperactive pre-teen male, which will likely be a relief to parents. For the rest of us, it’s something to pass by and forget about until the next “big thing” from Hollywood reveals itself.
I’ll put money on it having something to do with China.