While not a total disaster, Jack the Giant Slayer is another example of wasted money and talent. A completely uninspired take on the famous English fairy tale, Jack has its moments but can’t shake its rushed and even cheap feel. Ironically, before our screening, the lovely 3D trailer for “Man of Steel” graced the screen, and compared to just the trailer of that film, Jack looked bad.
I say “ironically” because Jack’s director is non-other-than Bryan Singer. This should be shocking enough, but given his notable 2006 failure with the first reboot of the venerable Superman franchise, being one-upped by just the trailer of the new attempt is really something. And Jack shows us why 3D is sometimes bad for audiences. The darkening and fuzzy focus effects of the 3D format are really apparent making Jack nearly unwatchable. It would have been perfectly fine on television in 2D, which is where this film belongs.
In fact, narratively the movie would have benefitted from the mini-series format where the more meatier segments could have gotten fleshier treatment. For example, there is a potentially harrowing sequence in Jack where the heroes climb the beanstalk. Their climb seems to last for a short and compressed period of time, which causes it to lose punch. I could have seen a whole mini-series segment devoted to that climb.
The cheap feel of the film starts from the opening moments that features an animated back-story with animation that isn’t quite right. It is off-putting because the odd and possibly low quality animation made me wonder whether Singer made a choice to use this approach or the budget dictated it. Either way, the quality of the entire production is damaged right there from the point of “go.” What follows is uneven visually and made worse by the addition of 3D effects that look less convincing than those employed in the 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake. This makes Jack a major step backward for Singer, whose next film is another “X-Men.”
Jack the Giant Slayer has no business being on the big screen, and I suspect as audiences get a whiff of the schlocky approach, it won’t be there very long.