By Christopher Lloyd
Poor Nicholas Hoult. The young actor has the dis-privilege of starring in two of the year’s most underrated films.
First was the whimsical horror-romance “Warm Bodies,” which didn’t cause too much of a ruckus at the box office. And then came “Jack the Giant Slayer,” an action-heavy take on the classic beanstalk tale that bombed, despite lavish production values and a budget approaching $200 million.
It’s a shame, because “Jack” stands much taller as a piece of pure entertainment than similar movies like “Oz the Great and Powerful” or “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.”
Hoult plays Jack, a humble farm boy whose life goes on a wild ride through the clouds after the magic beanstalk carries the beautiful princess into the sky. It seems the giants were banished there eons ago by the humans, and their two-headed king has half a mind to seek his heaven on earth.
Stanley Tucci, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor and Ian McShane nicely fill out the cast. But the real stars are the computer-generated giants – great, hairy burping beasts whose brutish manners and apparent lack of a feminine gender make their abode seem like the ultimate oversized frat house.
It’s a fun, goofy, giddy ride that never dares to take itself very seriously.