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Jack The Giant Slayer [TOP]

Jack the Giant Slayer (previously titled Jack the Giant Killer) is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney, from a story by Lemke and David Dobkin. The film, based on the British fairy tales "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Jack and the Beanstalk", stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor. The film tells the story of Jack, a young farmhand who must rescue a princess from a race of giants after inadvertently opening a gateway to their land in the sky.

Jack the Giant Slayer

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In the Kingdom of Cloister, farm boy Jack is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky controlling them with a magical crown. Simultaneously, Princess Isabelle is fascinated with the same legend.

At the top, they discover the giants' realm and split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick, Wicke, and a knight. Before Roderick secretly takes the remaining beans from Jack, threatening death if he tells anybody about it (although Jack manages to save one).

Jack's group is trapped by a giant, who takes Elmont and Crawe prisoner while Jack, his scent hidden being underwater, escapes. Meanwhile, Roderick tricks the knight close to the ledge and pushes him to his death, but then immediately encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but Roderick dons the magical crown before meeting the same fate.

Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, devours Crawe and he finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned. As the giants prepare to kill the prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves them with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn, and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont.

One of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket and is about to chop Isabelle up when Jack impales his neck with a kitchen knife from above. The trio races to the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding it to fall off the realm's edge. Seeing the giant's body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid a giant invasion, putting the safety of the Earth ahead of Isabelle's possible return.

Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, during which they admit their growing feelings, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. He kills him, but Fallon takes the crown before he can, so he is forced to escape down the falling beanstalk or be trapped in the giants' realm. Fallon dones the crown as a ring, and becomes King of the Giants. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns them the giants used Roderick's beans to create beanstalks to descend down to attack Cloister.

The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and lights it. Fallon falls into the moat and breaks into the throne room from below. As the siege continues and both sides struggle for control of the drawbridge, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon's throat before he can eat him, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown just as the giants break into the courtyard, he takes control of them, sending them back to their realm to cut down the beanstalks themselves.

Brahmwell abolishes the law that the princess can't be with a commoner, so Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward's Crown and is secured in the Tower of London while the giants' realm is shown to still exist above London in the modern day.

In April 2010, Singer re-teamed with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to rework the screenplay. Singer and McQuarrie had previously collaborated on Public Access, The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, and Valkyrie.[11] Singer stated, "Chris McQuarrie did a significant re-write for me. He brought a different structure. It was very much a page-one situation; a different storyline. It involved the same characters, but some we juggled around and switched around. He just brought a very different perspective".[12] McQuarrie's re-write included a deeper back story for the giants and explanation of their relationship with the humans, which Singer considered a "vast improvement"; it also upped the budget. To get the budget back in line, Singer brought in television writer Dan Studney to work on the project.[6]

In May 2010, ReelzChannel reported that production of the film would be delayed until February 2011. The report cited Singer's interest in being able to pre-visualize scenes with the digital giants in-camera with the live-action actors (a la James Cameron's Avatar) and the need for more time to work out the complex process as reasons for the delay.[13]

In February 2011, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Stanley Tucci had been cast as the antagonist, the king's advisor who plans on taking over the kingdom, and Bill Nighy and John Kassir were cast as Fallon, the two-headed leader of the giants; Nighy would play the big head and Kassir would play the smaller head.[17] Also in February, Nicholas Hoult was offered the lead role.[18] Singer said he had liked him since Skins and was very supportive of his casting in X-Men: First Class.[12] Later that month, Ewan McGregor joined the cast as the leader of the king's elite guard, who helps fight giants.[19]

About the performance-capture process Singer stated, "It's fascinating ... It takes you back to play-acting as a kid in your living room because you are running around and having to imagine that you are in Gantua and imagine that there are these weapons and all these giant things. But there's nothing when you are there other than styrofoam and blocks. It forces the actors to regress to when they would play-act as kids or do minimalist theatre. But in that way it's fascinating - I can see why Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron have started to shoot pictures this way".[12]

The film's special effects were completed by seven different visual effects houses: Digital Domain, Giant Studios, The Third Floor, MPC, Soho VFX, Rodeo FX and Hatch Productions.[30] Creating the giants took four main steps. The first step was Pre-Capture, in which performance capture was used to capture the actor's facial and body movements and render them in a real-time virtual environment. The second step took place during principal photography, where Simulcam technology was used to help the human characters virtually interact with the giants that were rendered earlier in Pre-Capture. The third step was Post-Capture, a second performance capture shoot to adjust giants' movements to seamlessly fit the live-action performances. The final step involved putting the finishing touches on the giant's animation, skin, hair and clothing, and composition in the shots.[30] Creating the beanstalk involved two main requirements: set extension for shots of the actors interacting with the beanstalk, which were shot against a bluescreen, and complete CG renderings for shots of the beanstalk growing and extending from Earth into the world of the giants.[30]

Based on those unavoidable TV ads for "Jack the Giant Slayer" featuring CGI-looking giants clomping around and throwing windmills while a hipster-quipster Jack romances a generic-looking princess, I wasn't exactly dreading the screening, but I can't say I had it circled on my calendar, either.

Especially when seen in close-up, the giants are pretty awesome. They're a grotesque bunch of louts, picking their noses and passing gas and making pigs in a blanket, which are literally pigs. In blankets.

As usual, the 3-D is mostly about 2.5-D, though we do get a few battle scenes where you want to duck. But over all, the special effects are impressive. It really looks like those little men are battling those giant-ass giants, who are led by a two-headed general, with the invaluable Bill Nighy buried somewhere in there playing the general.

There's no way you can have a fair fight between giants and people, so there's a convenient device to level the playing field; a magic crown, forged from ingredients including but not limited to the heart of a long-ago vanquished giant. He who wears the crown has complete command over the giants, and it's the evil Roderick's plan to whip out the crown at just the right moment and lead the giants to a conquest of Cloister and all the kingdoms of Earth.

"Jack the Giant Slayer" is filled with neat touches, from the casting of Ewan McGregor as Elmont, a knight in shining armor who's supposed to be the hero of the story and is indeed A hero, but not THE hero, to an epilogue that's just flat-out cool. The PG-13 violence, including a close-up of an eyeball popping out of a giant's face, means the action is a little too intense for very young children. But for everyone else, including cynical grown-up critics who didn't think they'd ever give a Fee, a Fi, a Fo or a Fum about this movie, it's a terrific adventure.

Oh, right: the giants. They live in this world between Earth and heaven, and if you're willing to overlook the scary rock formations and the isolation, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. Lush greenery, room for a giant to roam around, plenty to eat if you can curb your appetite for humans.

What I want to know is, where are the lady giants and the teenage giants and the baby giants? If there are no women, how do these guys not die off? They're not immortal, because several get killed during this movie.

Where it departs is in the notion that there's an entire community of giants, rather than just a couple, and Jack's reasons for ascending the stalk aren't curiosity and theft, but rather to rescue a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) who has been accidentally carried to the top and is now a prisoner of the giants. He's accompanied by the king's guard (led by Ewan McGregor's Elmont), along with Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci), fiance to the princess with designs on world domination. 041b061a72


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