Fe Fi Fo Fum!
We’ve all heard the classic story of Jack and the beanstalk-how he traded his cow for some magic beans, his uncle threw them in anger, a huge beanstalk grew up to the clouds, they encountered giants, and something about rescuing a magical golden harp that brought happiness to the land? (I think I’m confusing versions here 😉 )
However, did you know about the princess? or Jack’s bravery? The evil advisor to the king? No?
Then you haven’t seen Jack the Giant Slayer.
!!!WARNING: CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS!!!
Paul and I went to see this movie on our date last Friday, and we greatly enjoyed it! Part The Princess Bride, part Lord of the Rings, Jack the Giant Slayer was a refreshingly clean movie with good morals and charming characters. I would not recommend it for young children, due to some of the action/violence (people get eaten off screen by the giants, and we do see them spit out a suit of armor once. We also see one of the giant’s eyeballs pop out, though it seems to be more for comical effect.) I would say it should be fine for any child over 10, though some kids younger than that could certainly handle it.
I mainly want to talk about the characters, so we’ll start with our hero of the story, Jack.
He is a young man with good morals. Though poor, he is intelligent, having read and loved the many books left to him by his father. He is a gentleman, standing up for and protecting a woman(who later turns out to be the princess)’s honor. He braves his fears, and is helpful, resourceful, and kind. He cares for his animals and is not a crude person.
The princess Isabelle made me so happy! We rarely see kind, gentle women in movies anymore. I was very pleased that, while she did long for adventure, she wasn’t the type of woman who felt she could “Take care of herself” or was as good as a man and didn’t need anyone. Though betrothed to someone she didn’t love, when she asked the King if he would change his mind, she respected his answer of no. She did set off on an adventure, but she planned to return. It was not meant to be a “running away ” of sorts. When hurt, she did not whine and moan about it, nor when Jack noticed she was hurt did she act in a masculine way of “toughing it out” but instead, let him care for her, and treat her wound. I like that while she could care for herself, she allowed the men (her father, Elmont, and Jack) to watch over and protect her. Overall, she was a gracious, feminine woman, who was neither weak nor timid. Very different from the female leads you see in movies today.
I was also pleased that the romance between Jack and Isabelle was fairly subtle. We are aware it is there. but it is hardly the main focus of the movie. We learn they get married and have two lovely children, and seem to be quite happy.
Elmont was quite possibly my favorite character (It is a tie between him and the princess) I have enjoyed Ewan McGregor’s acting in the past, and thought this was a very good role for him. I found Elmont to be rather amusing, though a lot of that may have been the hair ;). He was loyal, both to the king, and those under him. He strove to protect the princess, honor the king, and do right. At one point he even chose to sacrifice himself to protect Jack, Isabelle, and the kingdom.
The king also was a good guy. I had a hard time liking him because I had already seen him as King Silas in the TV series Kings. He loved his daughter and wanted what was best for her. He was impressed by Jack’s bravery though he was a “farm boy”. Not asking anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself, the king was on the front line, and when the time came, made the hard decision to be the first one to start tearing down the beanstalk to save the kingdom, though it meant possibly losing his daughter.
In summation, I’d like to quote my husband, “For those of you who have not seen Jack the Giant Slayer, it was really quite good. While not exactly a kid-friendly movie (giants and people both getting rather damaged), the quality of the characters was quite refreshing. The princess wasn’t out to prove she was as good as a man. Jack was noble and brave. The good guys were good, and the bad guys were bad. Neither side tried to be anything other than what they were. The king led from the front, expected nothing from his subjects that he himself would not do, and was honorable. The crudeness of the giants was less than amusing, but no more annoying than the trolls in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
All told, easily one of our favorite films, and comparable in wholesomeness to The Princess Bride.”