Wednesday, 27 March 2013


My resolution to watch Ian McShane in anything he's in is wearing thin. He casts a glance in Jack the Giant Slayer, one which the camera acknowledges but only just: as his statue is toppled and beheaded before his own eyes, he regards its destruction with such nonchalant disdain you wonder if he's even noticed. Bryan Singer quickly cuts, as if to deter the ennui from seeping through the lens and into the theatre, but he's much too late. Singer pitches Jack somewhere between Jurassic Park and most of Peter Jackson's films, only misplacing the originality with which Jackson infused said films - indeed, Jackson's remakes and adaptations are leagues more original than this. The first act topples forward, as if relying on our memory of Jackson's and Spielberg's back catalogues to fill in the blanks, skipping from scene to scene and line to line in a manner that suggests that the majority of this shit has been exorcised in favour of dazzling CGI and epic battle sequences, neither of which ever materialise, although not for want of trying. Despite a budget edging $200 million, this is a remarkably cheap-looking film, drearily shot by DP Newton Thomas Sigel, and seemingly designed out of an am-dram company's prop and costume trunk. The clumsily animated giants are voiced as leading IRA members, which had me devising political subtexts I knew weren't in the film (the script's intelligence level doesn't stretch nearly that far) but which were far more interesting than what was on screen. Just about every actor is miscast, from the plain Eleanor Tomlinson (hardly worth the effort), to the preening Stanley Tucci. Ewan McGregor extraordinarily outdoes even his worst to set a new low for himself, and poor Nicholas Hoult looks thoroughly out of place - Hoult is a good actor, but he's no star, and he's no giant killer. Bryan Singer directs the whole troupe in scenes of people either standing around looking gormless or moving around looking gormless. This marks a new career low for all involved.