Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).
Today I’m going to revisit a recent watch that may or may not have scared the hose off me for life, ye olde fairytale-style:
“Jack the Giant Slayer”
The IMDb-Official Description:
The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.
From Warner Bros. Pictures; directed by Bryan Singer; starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, and Ewan McGregor.
Stream of Impressions (the highlights):
“YASS to rhymes that go beyond the basic ‘fee, fie, foe, fum’ original. Loved it when Danielle did it in ‘The Sky-Child’, lovin’ it now.”
“Nice back-and-forth, in the prologue, between Little Jack and Little Princess Person. And YOU GO, QUEEN, for encouraging your little queen-to-be to have adventures! Take note, monarchs and/or parents everywhere.”
“Okay, I’m well aware the Jack actor isn’t Merlin from BBC’s ‘Merlin’, but, I’m sorry, my brain is going to spend the whole movie refusing to understand the difference.”
“Oh, look – Jasmine’s visiting the marketplace. Go meet-cute with Aladdin, princess.”
“Captain of the Guard Guy’s cute. Just… observing.”
“Psst. Jack. Where’s your horse?”
“Eyyy, Evil Stanley Tucci. Whatcha schemin’?”
“Aww, don’t be like that, Uncle. In defense of the beans, there was a monk…!”
“Aww, don’t be like that, King! Your wife was so cool, before she died of Fairytale Dropsy…”
“THAT’S a hat! Hat approved! Our princess knows how to hat!”
“Ahh, so that’s why we don’t get the beans wet.”
“A twister! A twister! The shack’s headed over the rainbow!”
“Um, maybe don’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition?”
“Okay, Captain of the Guard Guy, you officially had me at ‘tally-ho’. Calling it now: You’re my favorite. …who weirdly reminds me of cousin Robin Hood, for some reason? The low-key adventuresome English accent, mayhap.”
“And THAT’S why we shouldn’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition!”
“Oh no. Oh boy. Here there be giants, and that guy over there is right smack in the danger zone of ‘semi important-ish, but decidedly below main character status’. He fee-fie-foe-finna die.”
“AAALKJASLDFSACKK, why is the giant that fast?!?!!!? Big creatures shouldn’t get to be fast, Little John!!!”
“Haha, that giant sounds weirdly like Davy Jones from ‘Pirates of the—’ Wait, what? That IS Davy Jones?! Bill Nighy in da house, with first line parallels to die for! (Pun absolutely intended.) I should’ve known; the beanstalk is practically the kraken.”
“ *whimper-screeches something incomprehensible while his recent death prediction comes mercilessly true* “
“ARGHH! Princess! Robin Hood Guy! JACK, SAVE THEM!”
“Daaaang, credit to the king where it’s due: He’s not one to pansy out when it looks like time to do the hard thing.”
“Soooo, I know Jack and the princess are supposed to be the endgame romance here, but counterproposal: Jack x Robin Hood.”
“Is he gonna die?”
“HE DIDN’T DIE!”
“Oh, snap, HE died!”
“OH no oh no oh no…”
“WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE.”
“Oh, God Almighty save us, HE’S NOT DEAD—”
“ *screaming, cringing, flailing in his lady friends’ laps* ”
“C’mon, don’t die, c’mon, don’t die…”
“WHOA, what a way to die!”
“Okay, phew, yes, day saved by— him??? Why not the princess?! The princess totally should have saved the day, dude – I don’t care who the title names as giant slayer! Still: Day saved. Thank goodne— NOPE, NopeNopeNope, I did NOT need that ending. I’m not sleeping tonight. Anxiety attacks ever after, the end.”
More Coherently Summarized:
Definitely less of a fairy tale for kids than for, I dunno, whichever crowd wants to see people getting their heads bitten off by CGI titans. And I mean, I love an adventure. I do. Sing hey for throwing yourself face-first into danger, death be hanged. But that’s when I’M the one in danger! I can die as many times as you like. Less fun is watching that happen to characters I care about – and I have a bad heart condition that makes me care way too much about way too many characters, okay?!?
Biggest complaints, though: 1, the princess didn’t get to do jack. 2, Captain Robin didn’t get to do Jack.
Regarding the first, you could see the writing in Act 1 setting Princess Isabelle up to be a gal raring to live her own adventure. But all the script gave her for the rest of the story was the usual Distressed Damsel role. Kidnapped by the krakenstalk. Captured by the giants. Rescued by The Hero Men™. Running and/or hiding while The Hero Men™ fight. Lame, but redeemable, if only she’d been the one to defeat the giants in the end. And she COULD have! She totally could have, and there I was, 100% expecting she would… then she didn’t. Because writers – even well-intentioned ones; even progressive ones; even ones fighting uphill not to fall into the story trap The Patriarchy created; yes, even my own beloved author – have the darnedest time letting women in a man’s story do anything that would mean the man’s ultimate upstaging. It’s just, the movie’s prologue had led me to believe that this was Isabelle’s story, too. Oh, well.
As for the second complaint, I maintain that there was chemistry – and desire, at least on Captain Robin’s part. Leave it to a mainstream movie not to go there. XP
Where are the POC?
So, am I remembering wrong, or were there ZERO (0) faces of color to be seen anywhere in the film? Maybe I missed somebody in a crowd scene somewhere, but even if we want to credit them so far as too assume that, crowd scene representation alone is pretty weak sauce. And we’ll just be generous and choose to assume that none of the giants were supposed to be of color, because I know DARN well that we all know better than to have the only non-whites be the monstrous bad guys, riiight?
C’mon, y’all. I don’t care if the movie was set in Fantasy Medieval England. I don’t care if it was set at the bottom of a bucket of white paint. Non-Caucasian people were not invented 40 years ago. They existed everywhere, and they did stuff. And even if they didn’t, they exist NOW, and a substantial number of them know how to act. GIVE [clap] THEM [clap] WORK [clap]. /End yelling.*
And that’s today’s review! What think ye? Have any of you seen this movie? Were you planning on it? (Are you now, since I did such a super fun job of hyping it up?) Any other fairy tale retelling films you wanna recommend, or warn me away from? Put it all in the comments! ‘Til next time, babes ~