Friday, July 19, 2013

Lock Me Up!: Jack the Giant Killer

It's actually sillier than the 1960's version!  Today's film is Jack the Giant Killer, not to be confused with the aforementioned film or Bryan Singer's big-budget disappointment.  I actually just watched that one the other day and it's not bad.  That said, I have a rant planned for films like it and another recent big-budget bomb.  In the meantime, let's look at this small-budget crap-fest.  The film is loosely-based on the famous Fairy Tale.  It is mostly a bizarre exercise in mixing Genres and Timelines.  While Singer's film is set about the time that it should be, this one appears to be set sometime in the 1920's.  I don't know why this is a big deal, but they felt like it would be.  If you want an Asylum film to compare it to, it would be Sherlock Holmes.  That had a similar time-period setting, shitty CG that looked out of place and a silly plot.  This plot is alternately less and more silly.  The story still involves a beanstalk and some giants- only they're not what you'd expect.  Likewise, they are not what the DVD Box Art/Menu would have you think either.  This is the kind of shit that sits in your Queue for a long time, always making you wonder whether you should just 'bite the bullet' and watch it.  To help you make that decision, read on...
The film begins with a person in a sort-of Mech Suit being swallowed whole by some sort of giant Rhino/Elephant thing.

As it turns out, this is from the Climax of the film.  Why it's also here is...anyone's guess.
As it turns out, the actual beginning to the story is pretty dull, which I guess explains the trick opening.

This weird guy shows up at Jack's house and wants to give him 'a package.'  The parents get protective, which confuses Jack.
Eventually, he rides off on his prop bike and opens the package.  It contains...magic beans, I guess.  I know that's what they were supposed to be, but they look like something else...
In Singer's Jack, they staged a whole set-piece around the Beanstalk growing and taking the house up to the magical world.  Here- it just appears the next morning, completely intact.

No, really.
While everyone gawks at the thing, Jack gets grabbed by a vine- turning into a cheap CG model- and taken up to the magical land.  It's...basically the same as the land he was on before.  That's amazingly-cheap.
Hey look- a flying Castle!  Why is it here?  Well, it's the most interesting visual of the film, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
I won't SPOIL the whole film for you, so let me touch upon a couple of points.  Ben Cross is here, looking more disappointed to be here than he was in Stonehenge Apocalypse.
The villain here is this lady, who controls the creatures for her own purposes.  However, since the budget is so small that they can't show her actually riding them.  Seriously, this is the best they can do.
Oh and this Doctor Who-looking guy is the real lead.  He does more than Jack ever does, really.

To find out how this silly mess ends, watch the movie.  The End.
Everything about this feels cheap and silly.  Seriously, this movie is just kind of dumb.  It's a somewhat-unique take on the story, but not really a good one.  Jack doesn't do a whole lot, the science is silly and the whole thing just looks odd.  Why is the film set in/around the 1920s?  Does it really help things for them to have wind-up radios?  Would them having cell phones ruin the story?  I'll guess we will never know.  If you want to update the story, fine.  If you don't want to make it modern, that's fine too.  Meeting awkwardly in the middle like this is just not good.  I like one movie that pointlessly set itself in this era- The Abominable Dr. Phibes.  You, sir, are no Dr. Phibes.  The effects are silly, the plot is not that interesting and the whole thing just seems super-cheap.  I won't fault someone for making a low-budget film- don't get me wrong.  I will, however, fault you for trying to make a movie that you can't possibly afford.  Seriously, you can't even fake footage of a guy riding a motorcyle...
Next up, my final Project Terrible film.  Will this Demon be Lamberto Bava-style or just plain evil.  Stay tuned...

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