Film: Jack the Giant Slayer
"Fee fi fo fumm, ask not whence the thunder comes. Ask not where the herds have gone, or why the birds have ceased their song. When coming home, don't take too long, for monsters roam in Albion."Jack the Giant Slayer
(originally titled Jack the Giant Killer
) is a fantasy action adventure film, starring Nicholas Hoult
, Ewan McGregor
, Stanley Tucci
, Ian Mc Shane
, and Bill Nighy
. It is directed by Bryan Singer
In this film based on the folk tale Jack and the Beanstalk
, a young farm boy is given a bunch of magic beans that lead to a land in the sky inhabited by giants. When the princess of the nearby kingdom is taken by the giants, Jack teams up with the king's men to rescue her.
The original title referenced another "Jack" folk tale
which is quite different
from Jack and the Beanstalk
despite similar elements.
This film provides examples of:
- The Ace: Elmont is the most brave and capable of the Guardians, and holds Jack in low esteem at first.
- Action Survivor: Jack.
- Adult Fear: King Brahmwell fears for his daughter's life, but is forced to have the beanstalk cut down before she can make it down safely, to prevent the giants from climbing down to Earth. When Jack saves her life and reunites her with her father, Brahmwell is visibly relieved. What he says to Jack as he gives him a bag of gold for his efforts shows how much his daughter means to him:
"As a king, I can offer much in reward. As a father, I can never reward you enough."
- Always Chaotic Evil: Giants.
- Always Save the Girl: Averted. Brahmwell decides to cut down the beanstalk to save the kingdom, even if it means his daughter will be left trapped with the Giants
- A Minor Kidroduction: Jack and Isabelle are introduced to us as kids being read a bed time story about giants.
- Ax-Crazy: Wicke comes off as just slightly unhinged during a lot of his screen time. Whenever Roderick gives him the cue to either kill someone or that he's going to do it himself, he reacts with glee and excitement, and even when that's not happening, he's usually trembling and/or smiling eagerly about doing whatever it is they're planning to do next.
- Babies Ever After: The film opens with Jack hearing stories from his dad about the long-ago war with the giants. It ends with Jack and the Princess—now safely married and living in the palace—telling stories of their own adventures to their children.
- Badass: Elmont
- To elaborate: after spending half of the movie fumbling through and making one think that he probably got his job through family connections, Elmont gets his badass on when he stays behind to recover the Giant Control Device from the middle of the giant army, which he almost succeeds, manages to kill the wannabe Big Bad in the middle of his brainwashed army, then casually climbs the tip of the beanstalk as it starts to fall to earth and rides it almost to his bed (he ends up in the moat) gets out of the moat and being a Genre Savvy bastard organizes the defenders so that when the giants come chasing his king the city is ready for them, trolls the giant leader by standing in the middle of the gate and shooting him in the face, trolls the entire giant army by encouraging the defenders to play tug of war with them on the drawbridge and shooting them up, and giving them the middle finger when they finally make it into the city.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Elmont and Roderick just love lampshading Fairy Tale tropes and referencing the original story.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Roderick is quick out of the proverbial gate, but fades in the stretch.
- Big "NO!": Done by Fallon after the beanstalk is chopped down. Fortunately for him, he finds the rest of the beans.
- The Cameo: Warwick Davis appears during the beginning of the film. Ian McKellen also makes a vocal cameo in one of the first theatrical trailers reading a quote, which is also placed in the film's climax in which generations of people tell the story of Jack.
- Chekhov's Gun: Jack saved that one last bean... and then uses it to kill Fallon at the climax.
- Convection Schmonvection: At one point Elmont is rolled in raw dough and placed in an oven to be cooked as an hors d'oeuvre. When he frees himself a few minutes later, he's not even sweating, despite the fact that the dough he was inside visibly cooked while he was freeing himself.
- Cool, but Inefficient: The castle portcullis consists of two metal gates that slide together — which means it takes longer to close, and is much easier to force open, than a normal portcullis.
- Damsel in Distress: Isabelle getting captured by the giants is what sets the plot in motion.
- Deadpan Snarker: Elmont. He is played by Ewan McGregor.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Jack's father and Isabelle's mother are both very decent people. Jack's father comforts Jack when's he frightened by a storm. Isabelle's mother encourages her to go on adventures and to be the best she can be.
- Disney Villain Death: The giant with the helmet suffers this. Though we do get to see the result of the giant's fall.
- The Dragon: Wicke for Roderick and Fumm for Fallon
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Epic Flail: Fallon wields a truly enormous specimen.
- Evil Chancellor: Roderick.
- Evil Is Hammy: Stanley Tucci is in non-stop ham mode as Roderick. For the giants, being hammy is almost a requirement.
- Eye Scream: One of the eyeballs in Fallon's miniature head shoots out during his death
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Fallon has a beanstalk grow from within him, causing his body to burst and send giant chunks of him flying. Also, several humans are either crushed under foot or have their heads bitten off.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Averted — "Albion" appears to be quite clearly based on medieval England, but the Flash Forward ending reveals that "Albion" is in fact present-day England. As a clue, Albion is the ancient name for Britain.
- Fire-Forged Friends: At their first meeting, Elmont is not impressed by this bumpkin Jack. After Jack rescues him and Isabelle from being cooked by a giant and they subsequently send another giant plummeting to his death, Elmont gives Jack a King's Guard badge, saying, "You've earned it."
- Genre Savvy: Elmont shows a surprising amount of this during his battle with Roderick:
"I may not be the hero of this story, but at least I get to see how it ends!"
- The Good King: The king is a pretty decent guy. Aside from one serious blind spot early on, he's a good leader who handles himself well, deals with his subjects fairly, and isn't above hard labor right alongside the common soldiers when necessary. He also shows remarkable restraint when dealing with Jack, refraining from trying to intimidate him once it's clear there's some chemistry between him and the Princess. Not to mention he insists on fighting alongside the guards when the Giants attack, and gives Elmont a "Hell no!" when asked to leave.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The film always cuts away whenever the giants devour the humans, only allowing the viewer to hear the sounds. Also when Fallon explodes, there's no blood or gore, just a few pieces.
- Hollywood Tactics: Averted. Both sides use pretty smart tactics in the final battle, including a burning moat that the humans use for defense.
- Hypocritical Humor: Wicke asks Roderick, after just pushing a soldier to his death, "Why do people always bother screaming before they die?". Ironically, a giant grabs him moments later, and he screams until said giant bites his head off.
- Idiot Hero: Jack is a wide-eyed and gullible farmboy who nevertheless grows to be a true hero.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Whilst the giants can eat animals, and presumably vegetables, they like human flesh even more and are shown devouring people several times throughout the film.
- Ironic Echo: "There's something behind me, isn't there?"
- Karmic Death: Roderick is killed by Elmont after the former attempted to push the latter to his death out of the cave.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to other recent fairy tale films such as Snow White & the Huntsman, Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and to the fairy tale itself, where Jack is actually quite the criminal.
- Logo Joke: The Bad Hat Harry logo has five giants walking in place of the silhouetted lineup of The Usual Suspects.
- Loophole Abuse: Whoever wears the crown of King Erik controls the giants. However, this does not make them entirely obedient, and they could find ways of killing the wearer of the crown indirectly, or simply standing by and allowing the wearer to be killed.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: This is the reason why Isabelle is the only female in the film, as the director did not want any women to be seen killed.
- Mythology Gag: The golden harp from the fairy tale can be seen a handful of times throughout the film.
- An egg (though jeweled instead of gold like the tale) can also be seen on the table as Jack is speaking to his children in the final moments of the film. Jack picked it up earlier in the film.
- A Mythology Is True: The ending flashes forward to present day London, with King Eric's crown now incorporated into the Crown Jewels at The Tower, showing that the original fairy tale is based on actual historical fact! A clue to this is revealed early on — the land is called "Albion", the ancient name for the British Isles.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Subverted when Jack and Isabelle are on the falling beanstalk; they swing on a smaller vine to convert their downward momentum to horizontal momentum and slide along the ground. Played straight with Elmont on the same beanstalk; he jumps off closer to the ground and lands safely in some Soft Water.
- One-Gender Race: In the entirety of the film, there is not one single female giant seen. Even in the giant's fortress, its inhabited only by males. Though their fortress being occupied only by males could be justified, since it is most likely a military garrison.
- The filmmakers have mentioned in an interview that there was at one point female giants in early stages of the script, but were cut out mainly because the director didn't want to have Jack kill any of them.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ben Daniels' (Fumm) atrocious mishmash of Irish and Scottish manages to make Bill Nighy's (Fallon) sound almost natural.
- Our Giants Are Bigger
- Precision F-Strike / Curse Cut Short: Fallon's right head, which is mostly unintelligible, very nearly says a curse word before he explodes after Jack drops a bean down Fallon's throat, causing it to grow from inside him and kill him.
- Really 700 Years Old: The giants are long lived, with many being the original invaders during their first invasion of Earth.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: See The Good King, above.
- Also Elmont, the captain of the Guardians. He'll put a good scare in Jack for not kneeling when he's supposed to—but when the Princess goes missing, Elmont remembers that Jack was the peasant who'd stand up to bullies to protect a strange girl whom he didn't even know was the princess. He vouches for Jack with the King when it counts.
- Red Shirt Army: The majority of the guardians who climb up the beanstalk to rescue Isabelle don't even make it up the beanstalk before facing their demise. All the others are killed by the giants quickly. Doesn't help that most of the Guardians are wearing red shirts.
- Right Behind Me: "There's something behind me, isn't there?" is used twice (see 'Ironic Echo' above).
- Jack thinks the bullies are really scared of him after he defends the princess. But its the Elmont and the Royal Guardians they're scared of, and he realizes it.
- Elmont himself says it when the giant army is about destroy the same Guardians, and they stop for no apparent reason. Jack is behind the Guardians with the Crown. Hence the Ironic Echo.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Brahmwell fights alongside his men during the final battle with the giants, joins the soldiers tugging on the lanyards to secure the drawbridge and refuses to flee when things look hopeless.
Elmont: Get the king to safety!
King Brahmwell: (pulls out his sword) Like hell!
- Sequel Hook: More of an in-world sequel, unlikely to be filmed. Near the end of the film, set in modern day London, a boy named Rodey grins maniacally at the royal crown (actually the crown of King Erik), carries with him a backpack similar to Roderick's and looks a lot like him (the teeth!). This heavily implies that he is a descendant of Roderick (or at least a descendant of any siblings or cousins Roderick may have had, as he never had any children himself) and plans to do what his ancestor did centuries ago.
- Shout-Out: To the infamous "NOT THE BEES!" scene from The Wicker Man.
- And to Star Wars, with Ewan McGregor (AKA Obi-Wan Kenobi) saying the famous Catch Phrase, "I have a bad feeling about this".
- The golden harp, shown at least three times in the film, heavily resembles the one in the Mickey and the Beanstalk short in Fun and Fancy Free.
- The king (Ian McShane) is announced by someone saying "The King approaches". That's also how he was announced in Kings.
- Smug Snake: Roderick
- Stupid Evil: Rodrick does a lot of actions just to show what an evil Jerk Ass he is; he has his sidekick send four soldiers to their death which in-turn leaves the group with barely any rations. And then he goes out of his way to throw another one off a cliff for no reason despite knowing he's in a hostile territory and could use the protection until he seized control.
- Discutible: He wanted to control the giants with the crown, and the less people who could challenge his possession of it, better. Except for his henchmen, all the others were disposable, and rescuing the princess was just the perfect excuse for going up the beanstalk.
- The Smurfette Principle: Other than her mother's brief appearance early on, Isabelle is pretty much the only female character.
- The Starscream: Fumm clearly doesn't care for Fallon and goes out of his way not to help him when Fallon falls into the fire moat.
- Standard Hero Reward: Jack marries Isabelle at the end of the movie, although this is more a case of King Brahmwell recognizing that his daughter has chosen Jack after her arranged fiancee Roderick betrayed the kingdom. Played with briefly when Brahmwell gives Jack a purse full of gold coins for saving Isabelle, and implies that he would happily give more;
"As a king, I can offer much in reward. As a father, I can never reward you enough."
- Interestingly, the fairy tale is one of the few where the hero does not marry and live happily ever after; he goes back to his mother where they live happily ever after with the riches he stole.
- Toilet Humor: While not constant, the giants do fart, belch and pick their noses, forgivable because they are portrayed as being grotesque creatures.
- The Unintelligible: Fallon's smaller head's speech is almost entirely incomprehensible.
- Visual Pun: When the cooking giant is making pigs in a blanket, he uses actual pigs instead of sausages.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Jack's uncle is never seen again after Jack joins the king's men to climb up the beanstalk. Its implied by his harshness with him prior to this scene that he hated Jack for putting a burden on him and left him to his fate.
- When Trees Attack: The Beanstalk.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Roderick accuses Elmont of this during their fight - of thinking he's the fair knight hero of the story. Ironically, Roderick himself is the only one really deluded: he thinks he's the Big Bad and that Elmont is just a bug to be squashed, when really he's just tiding things over until the real Big Bad takes command - tellingly, after he dies and the giants get the crown, they march over him to Albion as though he isn't there at all.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Roderick is dead, the princess is saved, the beanstalk has been chopped down, stranding the giants in their land... Shame on you if you expected the movie to end at this point.