Reel Views: A not-so-new look at an old fairy tale

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Jack (Nicholas Hoult) faces some very large obstacles in Jack the Giant Slayer.

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

It seems that fairy tales and folklore are the latest trend in Hollywood's rash of remakes and adaptations. There was Red Riding Hood a couple years back, there was Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters just last month and now, the newest addition to this genre, there's Jack the Giant Slayer.

Bryan Singer, who is best known for bringing the X-Men franchise to the big screen, takes his shot at recreating a beloved age-old fairy tale for this generation of moviegoers. Jack the Giant Slayer follows the plotline of the original folk tale fairly closely: young Jack trades his horse for a handful of beans and sadly spills them on his way home. Little does Jack know that the beans are magical and quickly sprout into a giant beanstalk that allows him to climb high into the sky to the lands of the giants. Jack the Giant Slayer does include some new elements, though, like the backstory that tells of a long waging war between the humans and the giants and the young princess Isabelle whom Jack is pining for.

The cast of Jack the Giant Slayer is fairly impressive. Nicholas Hoult steps into the leading role of Jack and it seems that this British-born actor is simply charming in every role he takes on. Hoult, who was recently seen in Warm Bodies, always has that air of awkwardness to him that this generation of young movie fans seems to really love. It makes him relatable, even in a fantastical role such as this one.

Stepping in beside Hoult as his love interest Isabelle is Eleanor Tomlinson, a fellow Brit. Tomlinson unfortunately plays her role a little flat, and the chemistry between the two seems to come up short.

Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor all have supporting roles in Jack the Giant Slayer, as they bring to life Isabelle's father King Brahmwell, the evil suitor Roderick and brave knight Elmont respectively. Not surprisingly, Tucci is the comedic centre of the flick with his usual wit and spark.

The trouble with Jack the Giant Slayer is that there is very little originality present. Sure, there are certain elements of the plot that didn't exist in the original tale, but they fail to make up for the fact that watching this flick feels exactly like you're watching a story you know inside out... which you probably are.

On top of that is the CGI employed by Jack the Giant Slayer. It is not only overly used, but the quality is so poor that it detracts from the rest of the flick. The giants are obviously computer generated and it seems almost a mockery of that fact that the General of the giants, Fallon, sports an extra head on his shoulders.

Jack the Giant Slayer is exactly what you think it will be. It's the same story told in much the same way. If you're looking for something new and fresh this one is best avoided.

Rating: 2 out of 5