Thursday, 4 August 2016

Jack the Giant Killer (2013)

Despite sharing a title with yesterday's review, this film has nothing to do with the 1962 movie of the same name.  It is instead a mockbuster of Jack the Giant Slayer, which also came out in 2013 and was more an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk than the folktale from which it took its name.

Like the big budget flop that it is aping, this film focuses on the beanstalk.  Unlike that film, on the other hand, it features exactly zero giants.  Which may make you wonder about the title.  I shall explain ... to the extent it is possible to do so.

So Jack lives on a farm somewhere in the UK, where he tinkers with the giant mech he's building in the barn with his girlfriend, and maintains a slightly frosty relationship with his step-father.  Jack's real father, you see, disappeared just before he was born.

On his 18th birthday, Jack receives a gift from an old friend of his father: two large beans.  He chucks one away and keeps the other, and of course the next day there is a giant beanstalk in the field where he threw the first bean.  Jack ends up ascending the stalk, of course, though his jacket - which has the other bean - does not make the journey with him.

Finding himself in a floating realm above the clouds, Jack is reunited with his father - who believes only 19 days have passed since he arrived - and discovers that this strange land used to be home to a race of giants.  However, his dad killed them all (offscreen, naturally), and now only Pops, a bunch of six-eyed dinosaur things, and a powerful witch named Serena still live there.

You know, given that he's only been here 19 days, and he's wiped out a race of giants, learned how to operate a flying castle, and clearly had a romance with Serena, Jack's dad has been a busy boy.

Anyway, if you think everyone's going to somehow end up back on Earth with the dinosaur things rampaging and Jack having to fight them with his home-made battlemech, then you are correct!  And you are also imagining a far more awesome conclusion than this film actually gets, because it's an Asylum film so of course they cheap out on things and we have what may be the least exciting dinosaur vs giant robot battle you could actually put on film.

Jack wins, of course, and gets dubbed "Giant Killer" because the dinosaur was really big.  Yes, that's actually what they went with.

"Jack and the Beanstalk with dinosaurs and mecha!" deserves better than this.

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