Jack the Giant Slayer (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 24-Jul-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Trailer-x 2 but not for this film
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Become a Giant Slayer
Deleted Scenes
More…-Gag Reel
More…-Ultraviolet redemption code and DVD
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 114:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bryan Singer
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Nicholas Hoult
Eleanor Tomlinson
Ian McShane
Stanley Tucci
Ewan McGregor
Bill Nighy
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Ottman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Chinese Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Information
Chinese
Korean
Thai
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A legend in the Kingdom of Cloister is told to everyone, whether royalty and commoner. Many years ago a race of giants who live between heaven and earth before climbed down a massive beanstalk and attacked the Kingdom. King Eric, with the help of a magic crown that controlled the giants, defeated them and sent them back to their home, cutting down the beanstalk afterwards. When Eric died he was buried with the magic crown and a handful of the special been seeds.

     Generations later Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is the rebellious only child of the aging King Brahmwell (Ian McShane). The King intends her to marry his counsellor Roderick (Stanley Tucci), a man twice her age, although Isabelle is very hostile to the idea. Roderick also has greater ambitions: he has stolen the magic crown and special seeds from the tomb of King Eric and intends to open a path to the land of the giants and to use them to conquer the surrounding kingdoms. His plans go astray however; the bag of seeds are stolen from him by a monk and when the monk is pursued into the market he slips the bag to poor farm boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) with the instruction to take them to the Abbey and “not to get them wet”.

     That night Isabelle flees the palace but is caught in a storm and seeks shelter in the isolated farm house where Jack lives. He has dropped one of the special seeds and when it gets wet it quickly generates a massive stalk that takes the house, Isabelle and Jack into the clouds. Jack falls to the ground, but the house and Isabelle disappear. The next morning when the King arrives and hears what happened, he instructs Elmont (Ewan McGregor), the commander of his Guardians, to take some men and climb the beanstalk to rescue Isabelle. Roderick, of course, volunteers to go along as does Jack. After climbing five miles they arrive in the land of the Giants but Isabelle has already been captured and all the rest, except Jack, are soon also killed or captured and about to be eaten. Roderick uses the magic crown to take control of the Giants, led by General Fallon (voiced by Bill Nighy), and prepares them to descend the stalk and conquer Cloister. It is up to Jack to save the Princess and the Kingdom.

     The fairy story of Jack and the Beanstalk is a familiar tale. Based on that story, Jack the Giant Slayer is one of those summer concept films that underperformed at the box office. It was directed by Bryan Singer, who came to notice with the excellent The Usual Suspects (1995), although he is no stranger to CGI blockbusters having helmed X-Men (2000), and Superman Returns (2006). Jack the Giant Slayer is visually stunning and is very heavy with CGI, some of which is good such as the close-up scenes of the hairy and pitted Giants, but some of the wider shots such as the Giants running to attack or the beanstalk, are not particularly impressive. The acting and the tone of the film are also uneven. Nicholas Hoult has his fans, but as the lead here charisma is absent and his scenes with Eleanor Tomlinson lack sparkle. Ewan McGregor is better; he seemed to be having fun and got most of the best lines while Stanley Tucci was suitably oily although his demise before the climax took a lot of fun out of the show. The tone of the film also varies. There are some funny lines, cartoonish violence and of course the giants and Singer apparently toned down the visual effects to be able to get a kid friendly rating in the US, but even so parts of the film are quite scary and some scenes, such as Fallon being consumed by fire, are probably not for children.

     Jack the Giant Slayer is not a bad movie. It is visually exciting and Singer knows how to keep the action sequences flowing. But the film does not rally grab you like an event movie should; it seems to be searching for its target audience so the tone of the film is uneven and the casting could be better.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Jack the Giant Slayer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The film is often quite dark, especially in the land of the Giants, but the print is sharp enough to see all the moles and hairs on a Giant’s face and their rotting teeth! Colours are good in the earth scenes, although a number of times the yellowish overlay of digital filmmaking does impact on the skin tones. Blacks and shadow detail is very good, brightness and contrast consistent.

     Other than occasional motion blur, I did not see any artefacts.

     Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, Korean, Indonesian, Thai and three different Chinese streams.

     A good looking print.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio choices are English DTS-MA HD 5.1, Chinese and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 plus an English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio description.

     Dialogue is not always clear due to a loud sound design where the subtitles came in useful. As one would expect, during the action scenes the sound stage is full of noise and fury with the thud of the horses’ hooves, Giant’s footsteps, arrows and other things flying around the surrounds and rears. At other times the rears are constantly in use with music, weather effects and the creaking of the stalk giving a nice enveloping feel. The subwoofer added a deep rumble to the Giant’s footsteps, thunder, galloping horses and the score.

     The orchestral score by John Ottman is suitably loud and stirring.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     A good enveloping audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     On start-up trailers for Man of Steel (1:31) and Blu-ray 3D promo (1:49) play. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Become a Giant Slayer (66:56)

     This is an interactive adventure hosted by Nicholas Hoult where you have to climb the beanstalk, on the way accessing various videos about the production. There are nine different sections that show the design of the Giants, a look at the weapons, costumes and armour, the Giants’ kitchen set, the castle set and various stunts. There is a lot of behind the scenes and blue-screen footage, split screen before and after comparisons and drawings with comments from Bryan Singer, the producer, visual effects supervisor, costume designer, animation and digital effects supervisors, set decorator plus all the main actors. Some of the sections are really an EPK, but others are good so it is worth persevering. Once at the top the reward is an alternative opening sequence.

Deleted Scenes (8:27)

     Another alternative opening sequence with incomplete animation and four other deleted scenes, some cut before the CGI was finished. Most were obviously cut for pacing purposes.

Gag Reel (3:09)

     Goofs, blue screen and quite a few takes trying to get a cat to perform.

     Jack the Giant Slayer comes with an Ultraviolet redemption code and a DVD copy of the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Blu-ray releases of Jack the Giant Slayer are the same in all regions except for some language and subtitle options; we also get the FBI warning at the start of the film. Buy local.

Summary

     Jack the Giant Slayer underperformed at the box office which may be because it is not quite sure of its target audience, some of the CGI is not as good as other recent films and the casting could be better. However, it is visually exciting and Singer knows how to keep the action sequences flowing so it is still worth a look.

     The video and audio are good. The extras are interesting but could have been better arranged.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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