"Jack and the Beanstalk on the big screen with tremendous freshness and grace"
Following the recent trend of bringing beloved fairytales to the big screen, Bryan Singer has brought the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fable to life, with tremendous freshness and grace.
The film opens with a young Jack being told a bedtime story by his father at the same time the young Princess Isabelle is being told the same story by her mother which sets up the mythology that the film is based on, fast forward ten years and Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a farm hand working with his elderly uncle, who sets him the task of taking their horse (not a cow) to market to sell since they are struggling financially. After an altercation with some local rogues, defending the honour of Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), Jack swaps the horse for the fabled magic beans with a fugitive Monk.
His uncle is not best pleased with what Jack returns home with and sets out with some items that belonged to Jack's long dead father to get some money. After Jack's uncle leaves during the terrible storm, Jack gives shelter to a traveller who turns out to be the Princess from the market. As Jack and Isabelle talk, one of the magic beans gets wet and grows into a beanstalk trapping Isabelle in what was Jack's house. Jack falls to the ground and a rescue mission for Isabelle is mounted led by Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Eddie Marsan's Crawe. Roderick (Stanley Tucci) and his right hand man Wicke (Ewen Bremner) go along on the quest, and Roderick's true intentions soon come to fruition once they reach the top and encounter the giants.
Bill Nighy voices General Fallon, the leader of the giants, and is rather impressive as the menacing giant, complete with a second small head too which is rather amusing. Hoult and Tomlinson also have a great chemistry together, which really helps the story along without force feeding us a forbidden love side plot to distract from the story which although somewhat conventional, works terrifically well in this instance.
The film culminates in a very impressive battle between the humans and the giants, and ends in a very intelligent manner, making for a fine return for Singer, more than whetting the appetite ahead of X-Men Days of Future Past next year.