Jack the Giant Slayer [Blu-Ray] Bryan Singer

Jack the Giant Slayer [Blu-Ray] Bryan Singer
4
Perhaps to drive home the age range of the intended target audience to Singer fans put off by the very broad and silly tone of Jack the Giant Slayer, the Blu-Ray presentation is strongly geared towards children. The centrepiece of the bonus content included with this fun but flimsy modern take on the Jack fables (Singer's version draws from the character's two most famous adventures, as the beanstalk climbing and giant killing happen separately in the folklore) is an interactive menu titled "Become a Giant Slayer." Jack himself, the consistently charming Nicolas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), guides the viewer (ideally a curious child, but likely an impatient adult) on a trip up an animated beanstalk in search of behind-the-scenes features. It's simple path choosing stuff but there are enough dead ends and obstacles to make one wish for an optional standard menu to access all the tech talk, at least after successfully completing the journey once. While the "game" isn't likely to amuse anyone, the extras are often worth the hassle. On the climb up, we're treated to in-depth looks at the costuming process, set design, zip line stunts and the impressive but not quite top-notch special effects work on the comically grotesque company of giants and the massive legume stairway to man-eating heaven. Singer, Hoult and plucky leading lady Eleanor Tomlinson participate enthusiastically, sharing anecdotes and discussing how certain scenes were shot, but rarely bothering to get very analytical about the deeper meaning of the story. Examining the film's political subtext on power corruption isn't likely to glue pre-teens to the screen. For those with short attention spans, we have sugar-rush editing and colourful on-screen scribbles to literally draw big red arrows to emphasise what the off-screen voices are talking about. The message is clear: this is kid stuff, so it's fine to laugh at giants expressing bodily functions and the frequent narrative foibles are nothing to worry about. Thusly disavowed as a project asking for serious scrutiny, Jack the Giant Slayer uses its adolescent affiliation as a shield, content to be "good for a children's movie," instead of aiming a little higher as a good film children can also enjoy. Back to the features: if you make it to the top of the stalk, your reward is a motion comic expansion of the Viking folktale that inspires Jack to embrace romantic adventure. Outside of that unimaginative gimmick, a couple of deleted scenes with unfinished special effects fail to add anything of consequence to the story, while the gag reel is rather bland. Jack the Giant Slayer is an uneven, but moderately entertaining fantasy adventure best saved as an innocuous distraction for little people. (Warner)