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by Jane Louise Boursaw

Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence,
some frightening images and brief language.
Released in Theaters: March 1, 2013 (2D, 3D, IMAX)
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Fantasy
Runtime: 114 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci,
Eddie Marsan, Ian McShane, Ewen Bremner, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis
Official Site:

The classic fairytale gets a makeover in this fun tale about a young
farmhand named Jack who comes into possession of some magic
beans, re-igniting an ancient war between humans and a race of giants.

A young male and female are attracted to each other, hold hands, hug
and kiss twice.

Lots of fantasy violence and a high body count. People fall to their deaths;
are eaten, trampled and burned alive; chased and ripped apart (mostly
from a distance) by giants; and squashed when the massive beanstalk
falls to earth. Giants are killed by flaming arrows, knives and swords.
A man is rolled into a pastry and nearly baked in a giant's oven.

One interrupted "f*ck"(totally unnecessary to the story), and a few
uses of "damn, " "hell," "piss off," and "ass." Mild insults like "idiot"
and "stupid." Scatological humor like burping, farting and eating

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

Which Kids Will Like It?
Kids 12 and older who like fantasy stories with lots of action, cool special
effects, and a bit of romance.

Will Parents Like It?
It's very fun and a great take on a classic tale. The PG-13 rating is
on-target, though I'd say it's fine for kids 12 and older.

We've been deluged with fairytales on the big and small screens lately,
and that's fine with me. "Once Upon a Time," "Grimm," and "Beauty
and the Beast" are a few current TV shows. "Snow White," "Red Riding
Hood," and "Mirror Mirror" are a few big screen adaptations.

Now we can add "Jack the Giant Slayer" to the list. It's based, of course,
on "Jack and
the Beanstalk," which we all remember from childhood, only with a
"Buffy" slant. Jack is tasked with slaying the giants in order to save
the kingdom from whence he comes. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Nicholas Hoult, who plays the humble farmhand Jack, is clearly the
next big thing. He started out playing the boy in "About a Boy"
(remember his sweet version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song"?),
and went on to play Hank McCoy/Beast in "X-Men: First Class"
(a role he'll reprise in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past"), and
the sweet zombie R in "Warm Bodies" last month.

As Jack, Hoult has that same loveably nerdy quality, not unlike his
"About a Boy" co-star, Hugh Grant. The story takes place in olden
times, and Jack grows up hearing the legend of King Erik, who
defeated the giants of Gantua, a land high above in the clouds,
between heaven and Earth.

During a visit to the market to sell his mean uncle's horse and cart,
Jack defends the honor of Princess Isabelle (lovely Eleanor Tomlinson)
who's disguising herself as a commoner to get to know the residents
of the kingdom. Jack sells his horse to a desperate monk in
exchange for a sack of beans that come with the promise of treasure.

When one of the beans accidentally gets wet, the magical bean sprouts a
massive beanstalk that grows to the sky and takes Jack's house and Isabelle
with it. Her father the king (Ian McShane) dispatches his head guardian
Elmont (Ewan McGregor) to climb the stalk, and Jack -- who's smitten with
Isabelle -- volunteers to join the rescue. But the mission is compromised
when the king's counselor Roderick (Stanley Tucci) decides to use an
ancient, magical crown to rule the giants in the clouds and the kingdom

The story is familiar, but ratcheted up several notches with the gorgeous
special effects. When that beanstalk grows, it really grows magnificently
to the sky. And when it's chopped down, it falls just as magnificently on
the kingdom below. The giants are so similar to the trolls in "The Hobbit,"
you'd think that WETA Workshop was behind them, but not so. Digital
Domain and Giant Studios are just a few of the animators and visual
effects companies at work here.

There's something for everyone in "Jack the Giant Slayer." Parents will get
a kick out of seeing the classic fairytale re-imagined for the new millennium.
Girls will like the romance and Isabelle's bravery, and boys will appreciate
the gross-out humor like a giant that picks and then eats his own booger.

"Jack the Giant Slayer" is a lot of fun and definitely worth seeing on the big
screen -- and in 3D if you don't mind the glasses. It will also be a
worthwhile movie to pick up on DVD or blu-ray when it's released later
this year, as there surely will be plenty of special features and
making-of featurettes.

One Reel – Even the Force can't save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV.
Visit her at or email