the Giant Slayer (7/10)
told my assistant that I was going to Warner Bros. to see a screening of
Jack the Giant Slayer, she groaned and commiserated. Although I
always like to go to the Warner Bros. lot, I was not looking forward to
yet another silly fantasy based on a classic fairytale.
Fortunately, however, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a well-paced
action feature that starts with a good tempo and doesn’t let up. The
dialogue is lighthearted and the special effects are spectacular. Even
better, though, the 3-D is as good as you’re going to get.
the story is a fantasy and the characters and situation are ridiculous.
But the two protagonists, the princess Isobel (Eleanor Tomlinson) and
the commoner Jack (Nicholas Hoult) are likable and believable. The bad
guy, Stanley Tucci, is evil and hateful. The Giants are monsters (with a
ratio of 4 to 1, so if the normal male in the movie is 6 feet tall [just
an estimate] the giants are 24 feet tall) who seem indomitable, making
the odds of the good guys prevailing very long.
was filmed using traditional effects in addition to CG characters
created by precision motion and facial-capture performances, using the
Simul-Cam system developed for “Avatar” to integrate live with virtual
in real time, while the cameras were rolling. So even though Bill Nighy
plays the leader of the giants, he is unrecognizable since his character
is a CG creation of motion and facial capture. He developed a gravelly
voice unique to his character by screaming so loudly that he sounded
hoarse when he arrived on the set. It is remarkable.
MacGregor plays Elmont, a knight in shining armor, sworn to save the
Princess for the King. The role doesn’t require much and Ewan is fine,
although he’s terribly overqualified for the part.
portraying humans were also subject to motion capture. Even MacGregor
had his movements recorded so that he could be filmed running, then cut
to motion capture to show the jump and fall, picking up again with him
after the fall.
mention must be made of the music by John Ottman that keeps the pace
moving throughout the entire two hours. Even better than the music are
the visual effects and makeup, for which there are hundreds of credits.
directed by Bryan Singer from a script by Darren Lemke, Christopher
McQuarrie, and Dan Studney, this is a thoroughly delightful movie, an
entertainment, something we don’t get a lot of these days.
February 25, 2013