Edelstein on Jack the Giant Slayer: Fast, Rousing, and Blessedly Brief

The fairy tale known as “Jack and the Beanstalk” centers on a hapless kid who stupidly accepts “magic beans” for his widowed mother’s most valuable asset, a cow, and then, when those beans lead him to a foreign land, becomes a man by stealing from and killing a murderous giant. Director Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer alters the thrust, but with a knowing sense of humor: The movie opens and closes with the suggestion that tales change in the telling, often depending on their era. And so, in ours, we get megabudget revisionist fairy tales in which familiar characters (Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Alice of Wonderland) lock and load and then lead armies against the forces of darkness. Jack the Giant Slayer is easily the most amiable picture to come out of this new fairy-tale-action genre, hitting its studio-prescribed marks without making you feel as if you’re being marketed to (even if you are). And it’s fast, rousing, and blessedly brief — under two hours instead of, say, nine in three bladder-straining installments. Read More...



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