Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Beanstalk is back!

 Yes, it is true, Jack and the Beanstalk has had a face lift and been re-imagined as "Jack the Giantslayer" for the big screen. One of many Fairy tales now being used as fodder for movie makers - last year it was the turn of Snow White in "Snow White and the Huntsman, earlier this year it was Hansel and Gretel in "Hansel and Gretel - Witch Hunters". Still to come we have "Meleficent" next year with Angelina Jolie in the title role plus there's talk of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast still to come.

 So, how did they do with Jack? Well, overall I quite enjoyed it. Ewan Magregor, Nicholas Hoult and Ian Macshane do a reasonable job of being charming and believable. The script is cohesive and amusing at times. The special effects Giants are suitable disgusting and monstrous although not very frightening.
 Some of the aspects have remained the same, a boy (well, he's eighteen), some beans and a land of Giants but they have deepened the backstory and added in a magic crown that can control the Giants. They've also padded out the story with a cliched "Princess who really wants adventure" who provides some love interest for Jack. Also added to the mix is an obvious villain who steals the magic crown so he can use the Giants to take over the Kingdom.

 I'd say it was aimed squarely at younger children,( unlike Snow White and Hansel and Gretel) and is a decent enough way to spend a couple of hours in the Easter Holidays but then again, you wouldn't miss much if you waited for the DVD version.

 So far I haven't been hugely impressed with the films produced from fairy tales (although I did love "Tangled" by Disney) despite the CGI that allows filmmakers to bring these stories to life, they tend to fall a little flat. Perhaps it's because Fairy tales are so deeply ingrained in our culture, in our childhood that they somehow lose their charm once taken off the page?
 Or is it because the film makers are trying to update and change what should remain a classic and this niggles at me?
  I'm not sure exactly but so far I haven't found a fairy tale film that compares to a fairy tale book. Not yet anyway...

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