Category Archives: bryan singer

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer ~ Fairy tales are hot in Hollywood right now. Whether it’s the two Snow White flicks last year, Hansel and Gretel with guns a few weeks back, or the hit TV series “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time,” or even the Fables comic books – fairy tales are big business. Now it’s Jack’s turn.

This weekend, The Bride and I saw Jack the Giant Slayer at the fabulously remodeled AMC Marlton 8 Theatre, and it wasn’t just the great reclining lounger seats that made for a great movie experience – the flick was pretty good too. The big budget CGI send up of the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story had adventure, horror, romance, and even comedy. I might go so far as to say it reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride. Now let me be clear, it’s no Princess Bride, but it had all the hallmarks.

Bryan Singer’s take on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is filled with CGI giants all in need of serious dental care and repair, and a fabulous cast of character actors. Ian McShane from “Deadwood” is excellent as the King, and Ewan McGregor as the protagonist who’s not the hero of this story is terrific. However, the leads are only adequate and the actors behind the CGI giants are pretty much unrecognizable. This doesn’t stop the flick from being enjoyable, despite the story’s simplicity and predictability. There are surprises, and that helps.

This is a great popcorn flick, moves quickly, never bores, and was the perfect film to test out a terrific new theater. Thumbs up all around.

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X2: X-Men United

AGAINST ALL ODDS

A Film Review of X2: X-Men United

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Being the real comics geek that I am it’s not hard to find things to like about the second X-Men film. What amazes me is how accessible it apparently is to non-comics folks.

Before the credits had run at the end of the film my wife spoke up to say she liked it – rare when it comes to comics-related stuff (she gets enough of that stuff from me). My friend Marni said she liked Nightcrawler so much she wanted to hug him. Two young girls behind us in the theatre discussed the original film before the previews started. One hadn’t seen it so her friend described it to her. “It’s so complicated, you don’t understand what’s going on, there’s too many characters… but it was sooo cool. You just gotta see it!” They were suitably impressed afterwards as well.

My amazement comes from that none of these folks are comics people. X-Men somehow works in the mainstream against all odds. It is actually a good movie. Unlike the first film which was (hell, it had to be) a lot of set up and had to introduce a dozen or so characters plus the whole mutant concept and premise for the X-Men the sequel had room to move, to expand, to explore.

X2: X-Men United focuses on one storyline and a specific group of characters. It keeps it light and tight. Rather than being overwhelmed by too much information you can sit back and marvel at what you’re seeing. This is much better than the original.

Magneto and Mystique are suitably evil and strictly out for themselves even as they work together with their sworn enemies the X-Men. The tales of Wolverine and Rogue continue to evolve as we get deeper focus on minor characters from the first film Iceman and Pyro. The movies, like the comic books, establish a soap opera like continuity that made the comics so successful.

Anyone who hasn’t taken the dive and seen this movie or its predecessor I urge you to immediately. Don’t be put off by the geek factor. Don’t think you’ll turn into a comics freak or worse yet a Trekkie. You’ll just enjoy the flick like everyone else. It’s accessible, it’s entertaining and it’s amazing.