Jack the Giant Slayer is X-Men director Bryan Singer’s first 3D film, and this swashbuckling adventure doesn’t disappoint.
The story is a new twist on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale, which sees Nicholas Hoult take on the titular character. He plays a naïve young farmhand, who becomes enamoured with the beautiful and feisty Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) when he meets her at a village fair.
Unfortunately, Isabelle is already betrothed to the sinister nobleman Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), but she yearns for a taste of the real world and an adventure of her own.
She gets a touch more excitement than she bargains for when Jack unwittingly plants an errant magical bean into the ground, which sprouts a massive beanstalk miles into the sky, swooping the princess along with it.
A rescue mission is set in action, sending the empire’s bravest knights in her wake – led by the valiant Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Roderick, who has a shady ulterior motive, with Jack tagging along to lend a helping hand.
They make the perilous journey up the beanstalk, only to discover a land of giants residing above - groups of monstrous human-eaters who were banished from Earth centuries ago. This tribe of earthling-munchers are hungry for revenge, and with the growth of the beanstalk, now have a stairway to Earth to wreak some long-overdue havoc on the kingdom of Cloister.
What ensues is an edge-of-your-seat ride, combining truly thrilling action with a touch of romance and more than a little humour.
A colossal final battle between the army of giants and the defending humans at the castle is the perfect climax to the film, which manages to keep the energy levels and excitement well balanced throughout.
The 3D is excellent and quite subtle; with the army of CGI giants standing out as a truly impressive visual accomplishment. They are led by the terrifying two-headed General Fallon, voiced by a gravelly-toned Bill Nighy, and due to the performance capture technology, they are convincing representations of 25 foot tall ogres.
Performances across the board are top notch, with McGregor excelling as the brave but somewhat foolhardy knight, while Tucci steals the show as the pompous and posturing Roderick, complete with a straggly wig and gapped teeth.
Jack the Giant Slayer is a modern re-telling of an old-fashioned story, and manages to deliver thrills and spills and impressive visuals in abundance.