Escape to the Movies: Jack the Giant Slayer

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Easily the most interesting thing about this review is the screenshot from Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. I didn't know anyone else on earth knew that game existed.

Wow, just looking at those clips of Tucci it really does seem like he saw Duke Igthorn and went "YES! THAT'S how I want to be like!"

Not saying it's a bad thin per say, just that it really does stick out.

Caffeine_Bombed:
Jeez, what's next? A grittier Wizard of Oz movie? Hahaha...wait, wha-?

I got the reference, but there actually is a grittier Wizard of Oz movie that's pretty good..."Return to Oz"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089908/

Regardless of how bad this film might be, it's strange you talk about Bryan Singer without mentioning that little number of his called 'The Usual Suspects'. You might remember it, one of two great mid-nineties crime films (the other being Seven - or Se7en) that launched Kevin Spacey onto an unsuspecting world. It would be like discussing Peter Jackson's work and forgetting to bring up that big fantasy epic trilogy he made, or Francis Ford Coppola and totally glossing over films about Italian gangster.
Yes, I am aware that Usual Suspects has no aliens, monsters, super-heroes, etc of any kind. And even worse, it actually won a couple of Oscars, but really..

Screw it. Making kid-friendly things 'dark and edgy' is over, so let's wussify properties that were originally dark and edgy! Who's up for Rambo Tots, Silence of the Even Younger Lambs and My Little Caligula?

bartholen:
Exactly what I was thinking. What is it with fairy tales suddenly being turned into these gritty blockbusters recently? So far we've had at least this, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood. What's next, Sleeping Beauty?

Someone did it successfully, so everyone else in Hollywood is now scurrying around to follow suit. One of Bob's BOFCA colleagues, can't remember which one, once said "Hollywood is a town where everyone's in a rush to come in second place." I.e., no one wants to take expensive risks, but the moment somebody does and makes the Next Big Thing, every wants to be the first copycat.

In fairness, most fairy tales were originally pretty dark and grim, until they were bowdlerized into nursery tales in the 19th century. (e.g., in the original version of Sleeping Beauty, "Prince Charming" is unable to wake "Beauty", so he rapes her. She's awakened by the king's children she bears when they try to nurse. In the end, she ends up marrying her rapist, after he murders his queen.)

Thanks for the warning, bob. I was going to go see Jack and the Giant Slayer this weekend. If it's that awful, I won't bother.

TheVampwizimp:
Easily the most interesting thing about this review is the screenshot from Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. I didn't know anyone else on earth knew that game existed.

Watchya talkin bout Wizimp that game's a classic. Aside from being really good it's technically tied to the Sonic license so it's in every Sonic mega-hits collection that pops up

So what was that thing about Spiderman at the end? I know Bob hated Spiderman's amazing reboot, so it doesn't make much sense to me.

DVS BSTrD:

shadowstriker86:
yes, yes you are the only one who remembers that movie. the best jack in the beanstalk movie was actually in this review: the mickey mouse version

Mickey Mouse should start doing fairytales again. When was the last time you saw him in anything besides videogames?

He had a show called Mickey's Clubhouse a couple of years back. I'm surprised how few people seem to notice that show's existence.

Granted, it was a show designed for pre-schoolers that teaches through repetition, something most people past the age of five or so wouldn't watch, but I remember hearing a few other people say the same thing as you did back when this show was running, and it sorta made me think very few people knew about it at the time. :/

OT: Yeah, I kinda knew this movie wasn't going to be good when I saw the trailer for it. The trailer's tagline was something along the lines of "Think you know how the story goes? YOU. DON'T. KNOW. JACK"

I just groaned at the very horrible pun and just wrote it off as something that's going to bomb. And what do you know? It did.

DVS BSTrD:

shadowstriker86:
yes, yes you are the only one who remembers that movie. the best jack in the beanstalk movie was actually in this review: the mickey mouse version

Mickey Mouse should start doing fairytales again. When was the last time you saw him in anything besides videogames?

He's getting a Hand-Drawn Theatrical Film. So he'll be in that.

OT: I was actually hoping this film would be good, but it sucks, so I won't be going to see it.

The story doesn't sound complicated. It sounds run-of-the mill, for lowest common denominator fantasy a la Dragonlance. A rip off of the film Thor - which itself was a mediocre film.

Mathak:

bartholen:

Caffeine_Bombed:
Jeez, what's next? A grittier Wizard of Oz movie? Hahaha...wait, wha-?

Exactly what I was thinking. What is it with fairy tales suddenly being turned into these gritty blockbusters recently? So far we've had at least this, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood. What's next, Sleeping Beauty?

Y-you hadn't heard? I'm so sorry....

Yes, that's Angelina Jolie.

Yup, had totally forgotten about that thing too. Jaysis fookin chroist, what's gonna be left after this? In the 2000s we've already had movies based on action figures from the 80s, superheroes from all eras, video games, board games (was there a Monopoly movie coming? I fail to recall), action heroes from the 80s making comebacks in the newly found "geriaction" genre and now fairytales. What are they going to have left? Internet memes?

Actually now that you think about it, Michael Bay at least has the money to make a 40k movie look the part if nothing else...

MovieBob:
Jack the Giant Slayer

MovieBob gives us a few giant reasons to not go see Jack the Giant Slayer.

Watch Video

The core problem here is that Bryan Singer has trouble emotionally connecting audience to character. This was clear back in the X-Men movies and in Superman Returns. For all their other faults, both movies failed spectacularly at making the audience feel, well, anything about the perils of the protagonists.

I don't say this to bash Singer's chops. Actually, that's what makes him interesting. From a technical standpoint, there's no reason these characters shouldn't work -- they have recognizable personality traits (if a bit tired), they get their requisite one-liners, all the elements are there -- but they simply don't. It's the director equivalent of someone doing the old high school "acting like you're acting."

He's using the right tools and techniques, but just shy of the way he really needs to. It's like watching someone pantomime using a hammer. Even if they have perfect form, you can just tell they're not really using it.

And what makes it even more interesting is that other directors (see: Christopher Nolan) can turn in great work in spite of this seeming inability to emotionally connect. Bryan Singer is caught somewhere in the middle, and I can't really pinpoint exactly what it is... though I do have a hypothesis or two.

1. He chooses the wrong actors, and then doesn't let them work. Directors like Nolan choose their actors carefully. Nolan, for instance, knows he doesn't really do well with drawing the audience in emotionally. So he hires actors like Michael Caine, and Leonardo DiCaprio, etc., and he trusts his actors to handle that part. Singer doesn't. He chooses people who look the part, and then he overdirects them, thus handicapping what they could do.

(In X-Men, the costume choice was the worst offender. The leather limited motion, and made all the action look stiff and fake. And Cyclops? You try emoting with 1/3 of your face covered, and see if it doesn't seem forced and awkward.)

2. He fails to commit to peril. In most cases, the "final showdown" or "high-stakes moment" in his movies often takes place somewhere far away from civilization. All three X-Men movies? Island, remote lake, island. Superman Returns? Made-up island. What's missing from all of these? Innocent bystanders. See, it's hard to connect your audience to heroes reliably, so often you can use the bystanders as an audience insert... except if they're not there (or, as with The Last Stand, magically edited away).

(Biggest offender: X2. Prof. X is frying the brains of every human being on the planet. The stakes are incredibly high... yet we see none of it. No planes crashing, no surgeons falling to the floor in the middle of an incision, no infants screaming in horror, not a bit of it.)

Caffeine_Bombed:
Jeez, what's next? A grittier Wizard of Oz movie? Hahaha...wait, wha-?

To be fair, the original book actually was kinda dark and gritty.

minnull:
Can't say that I'm really surprised this film ended up being a dudd. Next up, Mary: Rise of the Nano Lambs

Little Miss Muffet vs Megarantula!

Nghtgnt:
Here's my biggest take-away from this movie being less then stellar: if it turns out that Brian Singer isn't that great, were the decent X-Men movies just flukes/outliers/lucky shots? Will the next X-Men movie suck?

Though come to think of it, maybe if the next X-men movie sucks Fox will let the licensing rights lapse and it'll go back to Marvel/Disney...

The movie doesn't have to suck, it just has to flop. So long as they're making profits, they'll hold on to the licenses and ride on the coattails of the successes of the "real" Marvel movies. That's the real reason I haven't seen The Amazing Spider-Man yet, it has nothing to do with the quality of the film and everything to do with wanting to see Spidey get included in the Marvel Cinematic continuity.

This is no great shock. Or should I say GIANT shock. I probably shouldn't.

bartholen:

Caffeine_Bombed:
Jeez, what's next? A grittier Wizard of Oz movie? Hahaha...wait, wha-?

Exactly what I was thinking. What is it with fairy tales suddenly being turned into these gritty blockbusters recently? So far we've had at least this, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood. What's next, Sleeping Beauty?

A shame this movie sucked. I was in no way interested in it, but at least that mythology about the beans and the giants sounded kinda interesting.

It's a shame I do like the odd fantasy movie but Snow White has already had a dark remake. Seems like they make them every 10 years or so because no one owns the copyright to fairy tales.

On a side note: I kind of miss fantasy movies that were fun, not always convincing but at least they didn't have so much CGI. I think everything needs more puppets!

Naturally, this only exists because Jack left Fabletown and realizes that a string of hit blockbuster movies would make him basically immortal, and help him avoid the war with

It kinda makes more sense that he would actually fail.

any "Fables" readers HAD to think of this when they realized that this movie was a thing.

We really need another fairy tale movie to bomb after this one, otherwise we're going to see more of these. It's just too tempting when you don't have to pay for the rights, and when there's still some hope that it might turn out to be a Snow White-ish success.

As for this movie, it looked awful in the trailers. There's all the generic crap that seems to be in every fantasy movie trailer these days: big cutaway, giant Lord of the Ring-esque battle clip, that damn horn . . . ugh.

Beanstalk... Isn't that the one with Sissy Spacek as a wandering gyspy/monster hunter? Wow... Reminds me of the aunt in Grimm now that I think of it. Minus the Leukemia.

Just checked - Margot Kidder aka Lois Lane. Was hard to tell behind the crazy hair and glasses.

Mathak:

bartholen:

Caffeine_Bombed:
Jeez, what's next? A grittier Wizard of Oz movie? Hahaha...wait, wha-?

Exactly what I was thinking. What is it with fairy tales suddenly being turned into these gritty blockbusters recently? So far we've had at least this, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood. What's next, Sleeping Beauty?

Y-you hadn't heard? I'm so sorry....

Yes, that's Angelina Jolie.

I'm not sure whether it was intentional, or just shoddy, but in either case I'd like to strangle whomever photoshopped those cheekbones.

What I'm wondering is, have any of these gritty reboots of fairy tales actually seen any success? There's been a lot over the last few years, and it looks like classic Hollywood follow-the-leader, but I don't recall any leader to follow. It more seems like every studio exec simultaneously decided with no evidence like these are safe bets. Is there some big hit I'm forgetting, or is this just a collective self delusion on the part of studio execs?

Yeah, I don't even know what that movie is Bob.

I remember Beanstalk! Quite fondly too, saw it as a kid and had it on VHS, I'm surprised anyone remembers it at all. That one and the Mickey Mouse Jack and the Beanstalk were both pretty awesome back in the day.

madwarper:
So, this movie sucked... Big surprise.

But, anyone remember the Attack on Titan manga? Apparently it's getting an anime and movie this year.


Looking good.

Ohh, that looks good! I've never heard of that manga, so I'll ask you: should I wait and watch the anime or read the manga first? Is the manga complete or ongoing?

Casual Shinji:
I don't think there's ever going to be an Oz movie more gritty than Return to Oz:

SNIPPED MOVIE LINKS

Holy Hell, why have I never heard of this film!? It look's awesome! Must watch on Netflix immediately.

OT: Not surprised in the least. Guess I'll rent it when it comes out on DVD since I've been in a modern fantasy film mood for a long while now and even trash can be entertaining because of it's awfulness.

Looks like the 2001 CBS miniseries Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story is a much better "gritty" re-telling of the story.

madwarper:
So, this movie sucked... Big surprise.

But, anyone remember the Attack on Titan manga? Apparently it's getting an anime and movie this year.


Looking good.

I could watch the shit out of that anime.

Blunderboy:
Can't say I'm shocked.
You know what could be good?

A film adaptation of Fables.

It's been a while since I read them, but isn't there some plot in Fables where Jack actually becomes a Hollywood exec and starts a movie trilogy about himself?
I'm guessing the fictional films were better than the dud Bob reviewed though.

jFr[e]ak93:
I feel like I should be surprised, but I'm not... Kinda want a review of Stoker now.

Maybe it's for the best Singer didn't get Star Wars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkIlHgahBTE

Mark Kermode's review of Stoker.
I'm worried about Park Chan Wook's translation to Hollywood, but Kermode seems to think it's good.

Movie sounds awful. I'm disappointed. We need more movies worth seeing. There has to be so many great ideas out there. Instead, we get this.

I mean, this topic has already been done to death. Seen this deconstruction?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264262/

They go over the top and have the giant be super nice. Even if they hadn't we could have focused on the fairy tale: Jack invades someone's home, steals from him and ultimately murders him. Jack is the HERO in that story.

erbkaiser:

Blunderboy:
Can't say I'm shocked.
You know what could be good?

A film adaptation of Fables.

It's been a while since I read them, but isn't there some plot in Fables where Jack actually becomes a Hollywood exec and starts a movie trilogy about himself?
I'm guessing the fictional films were better than the dud Bob reviewed though.

He does indeed. He even got a spin off comic series called Jack of Fables. I've not read it though.

I can confirm, STOKER is an awesome movie with some cool Gothic vibes. Gorgeous movie. Everyone should see it if it's available near you. Took my whole family, and they all loved it because it was a horror thriller without the gore or excess violence.

But then I wasn't expecting anything less from the director of Oldboy, Thirst, and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance.

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