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Jack the Giant Slayer: BD Review

Jul 9th, 2013

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Bryan Singer phones it in with this needlessly noisy fantasy actioner....

Warner / 114 Minutes / 2013 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: June 18, 2013

If you can turn your brain off to near-lobotomy levels and just shovel popcorn into your mouth while savoring the heavy CGI sheen of Jack the Giant Slayer, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Big-budget Hollywood fare doesn’t have to be Mensa-caliber in order to work as escapist entertainment, but once a movie gets so dumb that it breaks you out of that oh-so-unique cinematic hallucination, you’re likely gone for good.

For many, this moment will happen quite early in Bryan Singer’s loud, chattering nightmare of a movie, a fantastical adventure that has neither any kind of narrative retread gusto nor smirking postmodern perspective on a story the world knows so well. Folks like Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci know how to deliver inspired blue-screen performances, but the world they’re in is positively lifeless: Jack the Giant Slayer starts limply, and never finds any traction.

The vestiges of the fable pop up early before things turn into Clash of the Titans in the sky. A big-eyed fella named Jack (Nicholas Hoult) finds himself the owner of a sack of beans, and when one of those bad boys finds its way to actual soil… you know the drill. But as Jack ascends this mighty plant, he finds himself knee-deep in a massive war between a regal house and the groady giants who want to eat them up. Oh, and there’s a hot chick, too – a rogue princess played by (Eleanor Tomlinson).

The argument can be made that Bryan Singer knows how to direct a movie like this, that anyone who was able to build the X-Men franchise from the ground up has a capacity with big-budget action that can’t be ignored. But I can’t shake the impression that Jack the Giant Slayer feels like it was directed by somebody sitting on his couch, barking orders on a cell phone while watching TV. There’s an inert, vacuous feel to the movie that neutralizes any bombastic thrill its larger-than-life CGI scale might provide. It’s just no fun – unless, again, you detach your brain stem completely while watching. 

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