The past couple of years we have been seeing many remakes of classic tales. To an extent, we have probably always seen this, but it seems as though lately there has just been a rush of fairy tales adapted and readapted to fit the big screen. Hoodwinked, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, etc. I haven’t seen Hansel and Gretel, but I am wondering which genius said, “Ok, so we have Hansel and Gretel. Don’t get me wrong, as people and characters they are really great. However, what could make them more dimensional? I know! Some crossbows!” While I am kind of poking fun, I would be lying if putting a crossbow in the character’s hands doesn’t make them instantly more appealing to me. Personally I always think it is fun to watch the many variations of the tales, and of course, some are better than others. Just recently, we went and saw Jack the Giant Slayer. I have to say, I was hooked as soon as I saw the trailer starring all the giants trying to run around killing people and Ewan McGregor’s poofy hair. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, there are crossbows involved.
I knew that this was a variant of Jack and the Beanstalk, which has always been one of my favorite tales. However, I did not realize there was also an old tale that was actually called Jack the Giant Killer. Apparently in some variations this involves Jack tricking a giant into cutting his stomach open (Jack must be extremely clever to pull that off) and he also finds a lady serving Lucifer. Interesting. I for one only heard the happy tale where Jack found some magic beans, and happily climbed up the giant beanstalk where he meets a giant, and as far as I know, his innards stayed intact.
The new Jack the Giant Slayer was an enjoyable movie. I think there could have been more character development, but this isn’t exactly supposed to be a movie that gives you an overwhelming emotional epiphany. I really didn’t particularly like or dislike the princess and Jack, nor did I feel they had a whole lot of chemistry. Their characters were likable all the same, though a bit stereotypical. The princess wasn’t necessarily a classic damsel in distress, but she did have some recurring habits that seem to be overdone in movies today. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that the woman characters are more adventurous and brave, but I kind of feel like I am seeing this same exact character over and over.
However, what I found interesting is while the main character is Jack, and he does have a large role in this movie, the star of this show was really Elmont. Elmont is the Knight that basically leads everyone in battling and saving the princess, and has a rather large role in the plot and the movie in general. He was a likable character, though that may not have been due to writing, but McGregor’s acting and his invincible hair. I mean, the hair literally never moved. This book adaptation may not be the next Lord of the Rings, but it was definitely worth seeing in the theaters. Maybe I will read a more detailed old adaptation of the book soon, to compare and contrast how the movie fared. What is nice about old tales such as these, though, there is more room for creativity and interpretations.
* Story facts pulled from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_the_Giant_Killer