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'Jack the Giant Slayer' intensifies the English folktale

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 9:36 a.m. MDT

Cook, voiced by Philip Philmar, in a scene from "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures) Cook, voiced by Philip Philmar, in a scene from "Jack the Giant Slayer." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The character Jack from the English folktale, "Jack and the Beanstalk," is no longer a silly boy in Warner Brothers' new 3-D version, "Jack the Giant Slayer." While yes, he still sells his horse for beans and plants the beanstalk, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) ends up fighting for the kingdom, its people and the love of a princess.

The film begins by retelling the ancient belief of giants and massive beanstalks, believed to be nothing more than legend. Time quickly skips forward 10 years to Jack as a young man who is orphaned and living with his uncle. Their financial situation is hard and Jack is sent to the market in order to sell some items for money. Soon princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) makes her appearance as a young woman caught in an arranged marriage to an older man. Even after expressing her desires to her father, the king insists on the marriage taking place.

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)

After recognizing her dreaded fate, the princess runs away from the castle in search of her own adventure and eventually ends up in the grasp of several large and gruesome giants. It soon is up to Jack and the king's best soldiers to climb the beanstalk to the land of the giants in order to bring the princess home. Once at the top, however, Jack becomes aware of other problems in addition to the giants.

Although the role of the princess is new to the story, the overall plot is fairly predictable and includes an obvious romantic subplot. However, the comedic effect does shine through in strides, especially through the jocular castle guard Elmont (Ewan McGregor). Moments of crude humor associated with the giants are also scattered throughout.

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)

But the film stays true to the purity of the folktake, not adding much additional content as it follows along the original storyline. There is no sexual content and possibly two uses of profanity, causing the film to be rated PG-13 merely because of the violence. Several scenes are frightening and disturbing as men are killed and eaten by giants. Although there is no blood or gore included, the content is rather intense.

Overall, the special 3-D effects and moments of excitment move the film along and leave the audience satisfied with the predictable finish.

Sarah Sanders Petersen is an intern for the Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She is a communications major and editing minor from Brigham Young University.

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