"Jack the Giant Slayer" is a capable, oft-wondrous fantasy-adventure tale—uneven, to be sure, but also largely crowd-pleasing as it goes for broke in the thrilling third act. With that out of the way, a few observations must be discussed. First of all, what is the meaning of the revisionist title when "Jack and the Beanstalk" would have aptly made more sense? The hero of the story, 18-year-old farmhand Jack (Nicholas Hoult), is neither oversized himself nor a slayer of giants. It may be true that, by film's end, he has had to kill to save himself and his fair maiden, Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), but it's not like he ever sets out to do away with giants and, as far as one can tell, he has no sociopathic tendencies. A second, more ironic, note: for a motion picture where the namesake giants are supposed to be its bread and butter, they are far and away the most uninteresting of all the characters, CGI creations through and through with few defining attributes and not for a second believable as live-action figures existing in the same space as their normal-sized counterparts. Is technology and cinema magic still not quite up to the appropriate capabilities, or does the bigger problem fall upon screenwriters Darren Lemke (2010's "Shrek Forever After"), Christopher McQuarrie (2012's "Jack Reacher"), and Dan Studney, who have conceived of their makeshift "bad guys" as mumbling, bumbling thugs lacking in dynamism and personality?
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