I will admit the acting in this fairy tale adventure can be a bit questionable at times, but honestly, this film is fun to watch.
Jack and the Beanstalk is one of my favourite fairy tales, and the basic premise of the fairy-tale is explored extensively in Jack the Giant Slayer, with a few little nuggets added in for fans of the story to catch onto. Nicholas Hoult does a great turn as Jack, who is tricked into finding himself in the possession of the magic beans, which of course ends up sprouting as a beanstalk.
The film also has a very believable romantic element. Jack introduces himself to Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) by showing her respect not as a princess but as a woman, by trying to stop her from being harassed by other men. There is a little bit of an unlikely coincidence that results in her being at his farm when the bean stalk takes her up far into the sky in need of being rescued, but their relationship feels genuine.
He respects her as a person first, and a princess second, and is well aware of his own place in comparison. Given she lives in a world where she has respect because of her title and what that title can offer to others, and what it means to others, I buy that she would find Jack’s approach refreshing.
It is only really Elmont, one of her guards, that she has another strong connection to and he obviously cares for her as a friend, but that is it. Again I love it, because men and women can just be friends in real life. He protects her as the princess and is her friend in the process. That an Ewan Mcgregor’s sarcastic tone that he uses for portraying humour works just as well when he’s wrapped in raw pastry as it does when he’s delivering the classic ‘I have a bad feeling about this’ line.
Overall the film is great, because Stanley Tucci does a great turn as the antagonist that gets his just desserts, and Jack proves himself to be more than just a farm boy; he proves himself to be a person worthy of being loved by Isabelle. The fact he becomes a giant slayer sort of falls by the way side; it doesn’t define him and it doesn’t change him.
The only problem I have is that the ending; the final scene is a bit contrived. It wasn’t needed and doesn’t fit with the rest of the tone of the film. Twenty seconds of weirdness though doesn’t detract from the rest though. Well worth a watch.