Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer

So one of the things you'll start to realize is my focus on story in these thoughts on movies posts. I don't consider myself much of an expert in other fields that reviewers tear apart, but I have done CGI work and video once. It's not that easy and it takes time to create something awesome. Underneath all the pretty-ness though, is a story trying to be told. That's what I try to focus on, since without a good story foundation and dialogue, all the best CGI and effects won't mean much more than keys jangled in front of a toddler's face. With that being said, on to the previews. Changing things to show all the previews in every post now instead of linking to other posts I'd shown them in already.

Iron Man 3
What more needs to be said? Seeing this one opening weekend.

Now You See Me
I want to see this one just to find out what the twist is.

G.I. Joe:Retaliation
Not sure what can be said about this one. 

The Croods
New trailer gives us a bit more info on the movie than before, loving the sloth named belt, so cute.

Now I've said this looks like an interesting movie before, but I had a thought while watching the trailer tonight. Now, Tom Cruise is a man named Jack, and women are screaming his name as he or they are in danger. Anybody else seeing links to Legend that aren't there? I can just see the fanfics now about him being a descendant of Jack and Lily.

Pacific Rim
Tayron's dying to see this one, so I'll be seeing it too and letting you all know if it resembles Evangelion as much as the trailer hints. 

Man of Steel
I'm just saying this now, unless nothing else besides graphic horror comes out the week this does, I'm not going to go see this movie in theaters. I might see it after it comes out on DVD, that's just my opinion.

Time for our feature presentation.
Taking a moment to talk about the pretty things first, before getting to the story. The CGI on the giants was superb, we saw it in 2D, but some parts with giants grabbing the people and getting right up in the camera, I can tell it would have looked awesome in 3D. Just the insane amount of detail that went into this one giant's close-up, where you could see all the pores on his nose, just perfect. The actors....some of them stood out more than others. Nicholas Hoult did an admirable job as a noble minded farm boy who likes rescuing damsels in distress no matter what their position in life and wants to go out and have adventures far away from the life he leads now. He kind of reminds me of a cross between Aladdin and Belle. Isabelle, played by Elanor Tomlinson, is very much like Princess Jasmine, wanting to escape from her gilded cage and upcoming marriage to Roderick, played by Stanley Tucci. Roderick is very much the evil guy here, planning to use the magic seeds he ruthlessly acquired and crown he stole to rule all of the kingdoms. Moving on to Ewan McGregor. Not sure how to explain his character. He's a noble knight who seems to be prepared for everything, but it just seems to me he hams it up like he's knowingly in a bad movie and having the best time of his life. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but he's actually one of my favorite people in the movie for his take on the character. Almost like he's the secondary comic relief after the first one dies. 

Storytime. I'm going to write about some of the important-ish plot points and story lines as well as favorite lines, then do a bit of analyzing.
So the movie opens up with Jack, then his father reading to him, the story of the Giants up the beanstalk that happened hundreds of year ago. About how some mages enchanted seeds to climb up to heaven. Though instead of finding heaven they find giants that go on a rampage, and ravage the countryside. The king at the time, Eric, killed a giant and melted down his magic heart into a crown, which somehow gives him control over giants. He forces them to go back to their world in the sky before chopping down the beanstalk connecting the worlds. The story at this point switches back and forth between Jack and Isabelle as they are told this same story in different places, Jack's father telling him he can be a hero like the stories, and Isabelle's mother telling her she's the descendant of the Great King Eric, and she can be great too.
Skip forward to 10 years later, Jack's Father is dead and his uncle forces him to sell their horse and cart so they have money to fix the house and live. Going into town Jack wanders into a play happening about the Legend of the Beanstalk we heard before. (Warwick Davis the the narrator in the play. awesome!) His path crosses with Isabelle's for the first time as men harass her, so he comes to her rescue being the nice guy he is. Guards show up and he realizes she's royalty and continues on to sell his horse. Meanwhile, a monk steals the seeds from Roderick and gives them to Jack since Jack will be able to get out of the city and to the Abbey much easier than the monk. When Jack gets back to the farmhouse he lives in with his uncle, we get cuts back and forth between him and the princess, both being lectured on their place in life and what they should and should not do.
Hilarious line here, While trying to question the monk on where the seeds are, Roderick's sidekick Wicke kills him. When Roderick asks if anything was said, Wicke replies with 'No, he wouldn't spill the beans.' All of this guy's lines ate hilarious as he's meant to be the main comic relief.
So Isabelle runs away again to advance the plot and finds herself at Jack's house. They dance around the fact that they both know who she is for a bit before the beanstalk comes up through the house and carries it up to the world above. Jack isn't in the house like in all the stories however, he fell out and wake up the next morning surrounded by the king's army. A small rescue party is formed with Jack, Elmont, Roderick, Wicke and a handful of guards you know are going to die on their journey to show how hard and treacherous it is. The main characters finally get to the main keep where the giants are keeping Isabelle captive. The giants start fighting amongst themselves to get to see who eats the princess when Roderick saunters in, wearing the crown. He reveals his plan to the giants on ruling the world, and Isabelle is transferred to the kitchen to be cooked for supper along with Elmont.
Our heroes escape from the keep, Jack and Isabelle start down the beanstalk while Elmont stays behind to kill Roderick and take the crown to keep the giants from following them. 
(here there be spoilers. scroll down if you want to skip and read my final thoughts, highlight if you want to know how the story ends.)
The first part of his plan works, but General Fallon, the two headed giant voiced by Bill Nighy, gets to the crown first and wears it like a ring to rule the giants and go invade the earth below. 
While all of this is happening above, King Brahmwell gives the order to cut the stalk down to protect his people. Our heroes narrowly escape dying, and all is well with the world. Until Fallon finds the pouch of seeds Roderick took from Jack earlier, and plants them to grow down and invades the countryside. Jack, finally reunited with his horse, sees the giants coming and warns everyone shortly before the attack. They make it to the castle and fight against Fallon one last time before defeating him, and talking the crown to send the giants away once more. The movie comes full circle with Jack telling their children about how they won against the giants. 
The best part of the movie though has to be this ending scene, where the story of the Giants is told and retold like a game of whisper down the alley, with parts being changed and forgotten until it resembles the story we all know today. The visual behind this is the crown being gilded and reshaped and altered to suit each king's vanity, until it comes to be the crown jewels, now on display with schoolchildren taking a tour.
Now that you know the story, what are my thoughts on it? Well, most of it was predictable and Disney-like, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. The story was fully realized and well written, I don't feel like I wasted my money seeing it. All in all, it's a great movie to see with your family and I would recommend it to anyone into fairytale movies. It reminds me a bit of the Syfy original shows Tin Man and Alice. Very similar even though it takes place in the past and connects the real world with fantasy.

1 comment:

  1. Wicke did not kill the monk that was Roderick that killed him Wicke was standing behind him