Jack the Giant Slayer ** (PG-13) Here’s yet another fairy tale stretched into a somewhat more adult action-adventure flick following what Hollywood has done lately to Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, and perhaps a couple of others. These stem from a couple of irresistible temptations - the ease of creating fanciful worlds and creatures with today’s computer graphics, and the perceived box-office advantage of offering something based on the familiar. The latter also explains the proliferation of sequels in horror, action, sci-fi, animation and comedies. The former unfortunately has led to spending too much of the budget on the sizzle, at the expense of the steak...meaning the script.
So we get a rather tedious tale of intrepid Jack (Nicholas Hoult, who looks like Richard Thomas’ John Boy in the early years of The Waltons) and a spunky princess (Eleanor Tomlinson, who looks like every post-feminist, not-just-pretty-but-smart-and-brave heiress to a mythical throne) climbing that beanstalk to encounter a whole ragtag army of nasty giants who ravaged the earthlings below many generations ago, who’ve been seething about their prison-in-the-sky existence ever since. Don’t even try to make sense of the premise. The producers didn’t.
Admittedly, the f/x make for some exciting moments, including a spectacular climactic battle. If you’re curious enough to attend, look for the biggest 3-D screen within range, because you’ll likely need to maximize the visual adrenalin stimuli to stay engaged.
If these revisionist sagas continue to be profitable, how long will it be before Mother Hubbard’s poor doggie goes all Cujo for want a bone, or Little Miss Muffet replaces John Goodman’s hilarious exterminator in a retooled remake of Arachnophobia? (3/1/13)