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Doug's Take: 'Jack the Giant Slayer' more complicated than old fairytale

Published: Saturday, Aug. 29 2015 8:47 a.m. MDT

Nicholas Hoult in a scene from "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures) Nicholas Hoult in a scene from "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

So you think you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk? Think again.

It seems things are much more complicated than the old fairytale reveals. In the new movie “Jack the Giant Slayer,” we get the whole story.

Every kid in the kingdom has been raised on the story of giants who live in the sky and in olden days descended to Earth via a huge beanstalk. The story goes on to reveal the heroic actions of the king who, along with the power of a magic crown, commanded the giants to return to the sky and ordered the beanstalk to be cut down. Time has passed and the kingdom is peaceful, but insidious forces are at work in the royal court.

Stanley Tucci stars as Roderick, poised to marry the beautiful princess Isabelle, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, against her will. Roderick has acquired the powerful ancient crown and if he can only get his hands on the magic beans that have been held in trust by monks, he can regrow the beanstalk, command the giants and take over the kingdom.

Stanley Tucci, left, and Ewen Bremner in "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures) Stanley Tucci, left, and Ewen Bremner in "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

This is where Jack comes in.

Nicholas Hoult stars as our unlikely, very poor hero who goes to town at the behest of his uncle to sell their horse. There, a desperate monk entrusts him with a handful of beans with the clear instruction not to get them wet.

When Jack arrives home, his uncle is not pleased, knocking the beans out of his hand causing one to fall through the floorboards. Outside, a storm is brewing. Also, a mysterious rider has sought refuge in Jack’s home and, of course, it turns out to be the escaping princess. Water hits the bean, the beanstalk lifts the house into the sky and the real adventure begins.

As the rest of the tale unfolds, we’re pretty much in unfamiliar territory. The giants' world is unveiled and the intrigues are played out. But will everyone live happily ever after?

“Jack the Giant Slayer” is just OK. Hoult, who I loved in “Warm Bodies,” is just OK; Tomlinson is just OK. Even Tucci, who is usually a highlight in any film, is just OK.

Plus, this film did nothing to alter my general disdain for 3-D. It’s worthless here and makes the movie feel dark. There are some cool special effects, but that’s about it.

Just 2½ stars for “Jack the Giant Slayer."

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