WHAMO! #Jack #Giants #Slaaay

WHAMO Logo

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”

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

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.”

“DON’T DIIIIIIIEEEEE!”

“Is he gonna die?”

“HE DIDN’T DIE!”

“Oh, snap, HE died!”

“Oh no…”

“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.*

*…About this.**

**…For now.

<<<>>>

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 ~

Back to the Drawing Boardroom (Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Back to the Drawing Boardroom’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a corporate setting. To one side, a window wall looking out onto a backdrop painted with skyscrapers. To the other side, a projector screen waiting blankly atop a stand. In the center, a massive boardroom table packed with chairs, in a random three of which sit Will Scarlet in a red business suit, Allyn-a-Dale in a blue business suit, and Danielle E. Shipley in a hooded pirate captain’s coat and fabulous boots.]

Will: All right, calling this meeting to order. First item of business. [raises mug ] A toast to the memory of “Jack and the Genre-nauts”.

Danielle: Did you bring enough celebratory beverages for the whole board?

Will: No, I did not.

Allyn: Speaking of “the whole board”… [looks around the table ] Given that we amount to three, is there any particular reason behind this many chairs?

Will: Shameless excess, Allyn. It’s a sign of the wealthy. To Jack Snow ‘n’ ‘em! [downs drink ] Ahhh, I’m going to miss that character. So many directions we could yet have taken his story. Could’ve set him up as Jack the Giant Slayer, or sent him tumbling down the hill with Jill—

Danielle: Who’s Jill?

Will: Why are you dressed like that?

Danielle: ‘Cause I can.

Will: Legit. [turns to Allyn ] Your recurring character will be dearly missed. But the sun cannot rise without setting first. It’s a new day for Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre! We’re starting fresh. Secretary Shipley, which two new prompts from the audience have we got on the agenda?

Danielle [glancing at her legal pad of notes ]: Looks like “Jack the Giant Slayer”, and “The sun cannot rise without setting first.”

Allyn: Meta.

Will: All right. Brilliant. We can work with this. Here’s my vision.

[Jumping up from his chair, he points some remote clicking device at the projector screen, on which the following image appears.]

Vision

Danielle: That’s not your vision. That’s Marvel’s Vision. He’s copyrighted.

Will: Hear me out. We have this race of massive, cranberry-skinned aliens living in spaceships cloaked to look like the clouds. Our hero, Captain Jack Harkness—

Allyn: Also copyrighted.

Will: —Top agent of a secret organization known only as B.E.A.N.S.T.A.L.K.—

Danielle: Which is an acronym for what, exactly?

Will: Um… Badass Everymen Actively Neutralizing Scariness To, uh, Avert Local Kerfuffles.

Allyn [genuinely impressed ]: You just came up with that?

Will: Like a boss. Seriously, like your boss. Keep in mind who runs this company before you shoot down my awesome ideas and hurt my feelings.

Allyn: I would never shoot down your awesome ideas. This idea, however, comes off as a bit… [diplomatically ] over-derivative. I believe we can do better.

Will: Eh. I guess you’re right. [clicks off the projector ] Anyone else got anything?

Danielle [raising a hand ]: We could always transcribe this meeting’s minutes into a script and use that.

Will [pointing at Danielle ]: I like it! Allyn? Objections?

Allyn: Beyond the egregious waste of our production budget on office chairs? No.

Will: Then we are agreed. Good meeting, everyone! [satisfied thump of his mug on the table ] Adjourned.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Chelsea de la Cruz and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ and ‘The sun cannot rise without setting first.’”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”