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Opening: Jack the Giant Slayer

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Jack the Giant Slayer, director Bryan Singer’s (X-Men) film that’s based on the popular children’s fairytale, functions remarkably well as a children’s movie. Warm Bodies’ Nicholas Hoult stars as the title character whose life is forever changed after obtains a sash of magic beans and meets a beautiful princess (Eleanor Tomlinson). At the film’s start, Jack’s uncle sends him to the village to try to sell their horse. They’re on the brink of starvation and need the money for food. Jack gets sidetracked, however, when he tries to defend a woman’s honor against a group of drunken ruffians. He quickly learns that she isn’t just any woman. Rather, she’s Isabelle (Tomlinson), the princess who stands to one day become queen. She’s quickly whisked away by a handful of knights and then a strange monk hands Jack a bag of beans that he says he must never get wet. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the seeds get wet and a giant beanstalk sprouts as a result. Jack finds himself climbing the stalk with Elmont (Ewan McGregor), an elite knight who’s sent to find the Isabelle (she was caught in the beanstalk when it sprouted). Jack and Elmont wind up in a land of brutish giants and have to resort to their wits in order to compensate for the fact the giants are bigger and stronger. The movie balances romance and adventure and features some terrific visuals (that better in 3-D). In the end, though, it just doesn’t feel like the start a franchise, despite the fact that the filmmakers leave the door open at the end for a sequel.

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