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March 1st, 2013

Movie Review - Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack The Giant Slayer

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremmer, Ian McShane, Christopher Fairbank, Simon Lowe, Mingus Johnson, Ralph Brown, Bill Nighy, John Kassir, Ben Daniels, and more.

Directed by: Bryan Singer Screenplay by: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dan Studney Story by: Darren Lemke and David Dobkin Cinematography by: Newton Thomas Sigel Original Music by: John Ottman

Premise: Jack and Isabel, though from very different worlds, grew up hearing the same stories about the giants living between the earth and heaven. Both want nothing more than to have an adventure of their own. Fate draws them together and between a rainy night and some stolen magical beans, the two of them find themselves in the midst of more adventure than they can handle. And they've yet to find out about the dark plot being woven around them. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Nicholas Hoult makes the act of slaying giants look easy. Eleanor Tomlinson was adorable, especially at the beginning, when she's trying to find out from Jack about the motives for his actions when they first met, while still trying to hide who she is from him. Ewan McGregor had several good lines, and looked quite dashing in his armor. He did several silent looks which spoke volumes, and delivered several delightful lines. Wish he'd had more! Stanley Tucci was perfect as the oily Roderick. Bill Nighy and John Kassir were fun as the two headed giant.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The movie is totally worth seeing for the beanstalks alone! Watching the thing grow at a magical rate and seeing it burrows everywhere was utterly fascinating. The effect when they cut it down was both realistic and unexpected. It might very well have done more harm  than the giants.

The giants themselves were varied in how they looked and acted and moved well. Their gross manners, bedraggled appearance, and lack of hygiene, however, clashed with the gift of their incredible sense of smell. As badly as these fellows looked, they wouldn't have been able to smell much of anything other than themselves.

The final battle sequence was outstanding. I loved how the giants took one of the defensing measures created by the humans at the castle and figured out how to turn it to their advantage. Sadly, however, the definite intelligence shown in combat again clashed with their lack of skills in making clothes or armor.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: While the main plot and its resolution won't be a surprise to anyone, there were still many pleasant surprises in the plot. Setbacks and progress were parceled to all parties, and a number of things didn't follow the expected route.

There are also a lot of subtle bits woven into the story. Some were jokes, like having Elmont make an Obi-wan type comment. While others were silent, or implied, and you have to pay attention to catch them. My favorite was when Roderick and the giants made it to the waterfall. Watch the General's heads.

Another fun thing about the story were the circular elements. There's a ying and yang quality at the very beginning as we glimpse the different yet similar lives of Jack and Isabel as children. Another has to do with specific dialogue being said more than once by different people. The final circle happens at the end, when we get to hear the story of the giants as it changes through time and how Jack safeguarded the one thing that could help mankind if the giants somehow returned yet again. (Pay special attention to the boy at the very end. He should look familiar.)

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Some stunts were CGI, others were real, and yet others were a mix of the two. Regardless of which kind it turned out to be, the 'gags' were all done very well.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: A mixture of CGI and real locations, they fit perfectly. The view from the beanstalk as the sun comes up over the clouds will take your breath away. The same can be said of several of the sweeping views of the giants' domain. There was a lot in the film to satisfy the eyes.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Thumbs Up: The costuming department had a lot of fun with this film. There were subtle jokes about clothing in several places. The human general was one - strangely looking like a spruced up version of the magistrate in the original "Frankenstein" film. The king's cloak was another joke and actually played a part later in the film. The Princess though did suffer 'perfect hair' syndrome throughout despite all their troubles.

Conclusion: "Jack the Giant Slayer" is a fun and more complex retelling of the classic fairy tale. It was filled with lots of gorgeous vistas and giant action. Definitely worth seeing in IMAX 3D.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again.)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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