‘Jack the Giant Slayer’: New adaptation is ‘Fee Fi Fo-rgettable’

Nicholas Hoult in ‘Jack the Giant Slayer.’ Rated PG-13, 114 min. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013.

The familiar “Jack and the Beanstalk” tale gets a CGI-heavy update in the over-long and underdeveloped “Jack the Giant Slayer,” from “X-Men” director Bryan Singer.

Nicholas Hoult (better in “Warm Bodies”) has the thankless role of Jack, who we never learn much about in his two hours on screen. He comes to the aid of a rebelling princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) and accidentally unleashes the power of the magic beans. Their explosive growth and Jack’s harrowing climb to the top of the stalk are the movie’s best sequences.

The grotesque giants are led by the two-headed General Fallon (voiced by Bill Nighy). Ian McShane plays the king, Stanley Tucci his (un)loyal advisor, and Ewan McGregor his head guard, but nobody here does more than yell and fight.

Everything in the aggressively 3-D film either falls, flies or lunges directly at the camera, and these repetitive, single-minded shots become boring and downright annoying. The movie is rated PG-13 for lots of “fantasy action violence,” but the simple fairy tale-like story would have more appeal to a younger crowd. Perhaps Singer and company should have just created a family-friendly animated short film instead.

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