(Bryan Singer, 2013)
Perhaps the most irritating and pointless vogue in current cinema is the adaptation of fairytales into updated forms. Goth romances, horror stories, and worst of all; wannabe epic fantasy Lord of the Rings rips-offs.
Thats where we find Jack The Giant Slayer; turning Jack and the Beanstalk into a film full of battles and sieges and swords and rolling landscapes. As such, it's hard to say why it doesn't work. The script doesn't help; the characters are familiarly cliched types we've seen all too often, the situations mostly stale and similar to others from better films. The tone is odd - lying somewhere in that zone between family film and gritty adventure film but never quite sure of which it really wants to be, this is a film where giants bite human heads off, but we never see any blood. The humour is juvenile, ensuring we know these giants are flatulent snot-eating slobs, yet the emotional arcs are adolescent, with a hero and heroine (Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson, both pretty and utterly boring) who virtually fall in love at first sight, both yearning for escape and adventure, neither evincing much personality.
The effects are impressive, with most of the Giant sequences suitably frightening and awesome, and I can well believe that Singer wanted to make this film just so he could put together scenes like the one where we first glimpse a giant or the one where they rampage across a plain towards a city. Its well designed - if, again, a little too familiar in conception with its gritty grimy medieval look - and well-made, with nice photography by the reliable Newton Thomas Siegel, and the story rattles along.
But its really not enough.
It fades from the mind almost as you watch it, and it makes you wonder why Singer's career has started to drift in quite the way it has.