You know the basic story: Jack (Nicholas Hoult) trades a horse for some magic beans that grow an enormous beanstalk that leads to... giants! This version throws in a princess named Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), a conniving courtier named Roderick (Stanley Tucci), and the leader of the royal guard or something, Elmont (ever-effervescent Ewan McGregor). And there's not just one giant, there's a whole world of giants up in the clouds, just waiting to eat humans and take over the earth and generally behave like enormous fourteen-year-old boys.
|Elmont, Isabella, and Jack|
Jack was sweet and Isabelle was spunky, but it was Elmont that I rooted for through the whole movie. First of all, there's something so irrepressible, so buoyant about Ewan McGregor that I have loved him from the first movie I saw him in (which was probably Emma). Actually, no, my fascination with him dates back farther than that -- I read a review of Trainspotting (1996) in my dad's Time or Newsweek when it came out, and there was this picture of him drinking out of a bottle and laughing, and this one of him lying across a railroad track with his head on one track and his feet on the other, and I went, "Who IS this guy? He looks so happy, and then he's got his head on a train track? What?" I didn't see Emma until it came to video, so probably a year or so later. (Never have seen Trainspotting, and don't intend to.)
Anyway! Elmont! He spends the majority of the movie behaving as if he's actually the hero of the whole story. Since he's head of the royal guard or something, he's in charge of the rescue mission, and goes about giving orders and engaging in manly acts of derring-do with a hilarious mixture of swagger and aplomb.
|Helmet hair AND a dandy mustache.|
|It can be tamed!|
- The princess doesn't do something dumb that causes all this trouble.
- The giants kind of had this Easter Island Head look, which was awesome.
- The king chose to do his kingly duty when I was convinced he would take the easy route. I cheered.
- Every single actor was clearly having bushel-loads of fun.
- Warwick Davis! I was so surprised, and he was awesome as usual.
I say that this counts as a period drama because at the end, they posit that it was occurring in an early England. Also, the costumes were very fun. Obviously, this is a fantasy, so you get some unreal things like golden armor for the royalty. And Elmont's armor is very natty, don't you think? But commoners like Jack have grubby, work-ready clothes in plain colors that I found very effective.
Is this movie family-friendly? Fairly. There are a handful of bad words. Several people get their heads literally bitten off, though that's usually at a distance. There's very little blood or gore, though there's a lot of fantasy-style violence. And, like I mentioned, some juvenile humor involving nasal mucous and such. There are a couple of pretty chaste kisses too.