Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
A New Prince Full of Beans – Jack the Giant Slayer
With fairy tales being de rigeur at the moment, this marks another big budget fantasy flick with a true romantic story thrown in. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is as useless as the original fairy tale would have you believe; he prefers to loaf rather than do anything to help his struggling father make enough money to get them through the harsh winter. At the end of his tether, his father tells him to take the cow, Daisy and sell her at the market for some profit, but when he makes his way into town, he swaps his horse for a handful of beans, which he is told are 'special, magic beans.'
When he gets back home, his dad is furious he made no profit, and scalds him for his actions. Jack, annoyed at being told off drops the beans and they grow almost immediately into a beanstalk that crushes their house. As the beanstalk grows, princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) gets caught up in it, and Jack, who she met at the market earlier decides to help rescue her. The beanstalk also comes complete with a race of giants and their minions, a harp, treasure and other things that are straight out of the fairy tale. The movie has an all star cast with Elmont (Ewan McGregor) a knight (not Jedi this time,) King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) and the dastardly Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci).
The romantic angle in this movie happens when Princess Isabelle is told she must marry in order to fulfill her role as a princess, and when she rebels, the king finds the most unsuitable man possible for her to marry. The princess isn't a brat, though, she is an independent woman who doesn't fit in with the ideal of being the perfect princess, and has already decided that she would rather be with Jack even though he is not a prince, or even a noble. But at least he isn't dastardly. In this his heroism is what could make him a prince without him even knowing it.
There are changes to the original fairy tale and in this one, the beans are mentioned in a book that tells a different tale of their origins from the one we are used to, and a mysterious crown that was forged in order to keep the giants at bay. It's an exciting romp and one that is great to watch with your other half on the couch.