Special effects can sometimes make or break a movie but in the case of ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ it’s been left in pieces.
Nicholas Hoult (‘About a Boy’ and ‘A Single Man’ pictured right) plays farm hand Jack who battles with a horde of cloud dwelling giants for the life of his one true love, Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson - ‘Alice in Wonderland’).
The story is very much that of a fairytale and whilst the giants are fun to watch, the special effects are so woefully raw that you’d be forgiven for thinking a group of primary one school children could do a better job.
The movie’s prologue sets the context for the rest of the film by way of an animated story about how the giants were once banished into their home in the clouds by the ancient King Eric the Great.
This animated sequence has alarm bells ringing early on as it looks like something that’s been snatched right off the movie’s story boards that would have been used in the pre-production stages.
Suspending disbelief is something that comes part and parcel with movies like ‘Jack and the Giant Slayer’ but some of what happens in this movie is enough to make the thought of Cristiano Ronaldo signing for Derry City sound plausible.
It’s a film filled with contrivances but there a few glimmers of light to choose from.
Ewan McGregor (‘Trainspotting’ and ‘The Impossible’) is dashing and brilliant as the King of Cloister’s champion, Elmont.
Elmont is the leader of the King’s Elite Guard and along with Crawe (Eddie Marsan - ‘Tyrannosaur’), he leads the fight against the giants.
It’s strange to watch a film with Ewan McGregor in it when he’s not the leading man but his part in ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ is by far one of the most enjoyable things about the film.
I like Nicholas Hoult and he certainly can act. His performance in the 2009 film ‘A Single Man’ was superb and whilst Colin Firth was rightly recognised for his acting in the film Hoult was strikingly good too.
In ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’, Hoult is believable as the lumbering and unwieldy Jack but he’s severely let down by Eleanor Tomlinson’s Princess Isabelle.
Tomlinson is instantly forgettable and it’s fair cop to suggest that she was miscast in the role.
In fact, her character is so poorly written and poorly acted that if she walked past me in the street I wouldn’t recognise her. It’s unfortunate because Hoult certainly delivers with Jack so it’s regrettable that Tomlinson is so bland.
Stanley Tucci (‘Undercover Blues’ and ‘Road to Perdition’) plays the villainous Roderick.
Tucci’s Roderick is hell bent on harnessing the power of the giants for his own ends and like McGregor, he is enjoyable to watch.
What can I say about the giants? They look ridiculous but they were fun to watch. In fact, at one stage I found myself cheering them on and part of me was looking forward to watching on as they laid waste to the Kingdom of Cloister but alas my debased fantasy did not materialise.
Bill Nighy (‘Love Actually’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’) is the voice of the leader of the giants, General Fallon.
As you would expect, the giants’ voices have to be course and threatening but it’s a tad puzzling why the powers that be decided Nighy’s General Fallon had to speak with a West Belfast accent.
Don’t get me wrong, Nighy’s accent is quite good but cloud dwelling giants speaking like someone from the Falls Road is something that I am perhaps never likely to ever get over.
Bryan Singer, yes, Bryan Singer, the man responsible for the masterpiece that is ‘The Usual Suspects’ is at the helm here.
Unfortunately, Singer has failed to recapture the brilliance of ‘The Usual Suspects’ with anything he’s done since and ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ is no different.
Singer is currently working on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ and I only hope that it’s much more entertaining and enjoyable than the perplexing ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’.