Blu-ray Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer | CAST: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, Eddie Marsan, Bill Nighy, Stanley Tucci
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 6/18/2013 | PRICE: DVD $22.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $35.99, Blu-ray 3D Combo $44.95
BONUSES: deleted scenes, gag reel, featurette game, digital copy
SPECS: PG-13 | 114 min. | Fantasy | 2.4:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Jack the Giant SlayerJack the Giant Slayer is fun and light, which are both its strengths and its weaknesses.

Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) tells the old fairy tale with a few twists. Jack (Nicholas Hoult, War Horse) gets the magic beans for a monk who stole them to protect them from an evil member of the king’s court, Roderick (Stanley Tucci, The Hunger Games). When the beans get rained on and grow, the princess (Eleanor Tomlinson, The Illusionist) is in Jack’s house and it pulled up into the clouds.

Jack goes with the king’s soldiers, led by Elmont (Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) and Roderick to rescue the princess, but when they get to the giants’ lair, Roderick puts on a magic crown that gives him control of the giants. Roderick wants to take the giants down to the land so he can rule, and Elmont and Jack must stop him.

There’s plenty of action, some good one-liners and Singer keeps the story moving quickly. It’s fun, light family fare. BUT, it’s just fun, light fare. The characters lean a little too heavily on the side of caracature, and the plot lacks surprise — except maybe a giant bean stalk growing from inside a giant. The visual effects are great for the beanstalk, but the giants are so so. In short, Jack the Giant Slayer is for the family but will play best with the younger members.

The high-definition picture on the Blu-ray is great, but what’s really fun is the sound, with the crack of the growing beanstalk and the crunch of the giants’ teeth reverberating through the speakers.

The special features aren’t too special either. The Blu-ray contains a not that funny gag reel, a handful of deleted scenes in various stages of visual effects that don’t add much to the story, and a bunch of featurettes that are good, except they’re hard to get to.

Kudos to Warner for thinking out of the box with its “Become a Giant Slayer,” but, while kids will find it fun, adults will find it annoying. Nicholas Hoult hosts the “interactive experience,” which asks you to climb a beanstalk and get giant slayer lessons, aka behind-the-scenes featurettes, on the way up. You use your remote to climb, clicking for forward, back, left or right, and when wind hits or giants throw down boulders, you have to negotiate appropriately. It starts out fine, but one mistake and you’re sent back to the beginning and have to start over if you want to keep advancing and seeing all the featurettes. Kids might be happy to keep clicking, but adults will quickly wish there was a way they could just see the featurettes by the themselves.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.