Jack the Giant Slayer opens with young farm boy Jack being read a bedtime story about King Erik. Erik was a legendary king who defeated the giants of Gantua, a land between earth and heaven. Through a series of flashbacks we learn that a race of fierce giants from the land of Gantua reached the lands below by climbing down magic beanstalks. They pillaged villages and feasted upon humans for many years. The giants were only stopped when King Erik created a magical crown that gave him supreme control over the giants. King Erik banished the giants to their own realm in the sky and chopped down the beanstalks. The magical crown and beans were buried with King Erik when he died.
As a young man of 18, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) heads off to market to sell his uncle’s horse and cart. While at the market, Jack rescues Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) from men who are assaulting her. She likes adventure and is dressed as a commoner. Later, a monk persuades Jack to sell him his horse in exchange for a few beans – the magic beans of the legend. The monk has just stolen the beans from the king’s councillor Roderick (Stanley Tucci), who had the beans for his own evil purposes.
Later that night Princess Isabelle is out on one of her adventures. She takes refuge in Jack’s house when the weather turns bad. Disaster strikes when one of the magic beans accidentally gets wet, sprouts into a giant beanstalk and shoots skyward, taking Jack’s house and the princess with it.
The next day King Bramwell (Ian McShane) orders Isabelle’s guardian, Elmont (Ewan McGregor), Jack, the treacherous Roderick and several guards to climb the beanstalk and bring back the princess. When Jack and Elmont reach the top of the beanstalk, they discover Gantua and an army of giants. Rescuing Isabelle is now very dangerous, and the entire kingdom is placed in danger when the leader of the giants, General Fallon (Bill Nighy), declares war on the kingdom below and comes down with his army.
Fairytales and the supernatural; revenge; treachery
This movie has some sexual references, including discussion of Princess Isabelle’s arranged marriage. The princess doesn’t want an arranged marriage and believes she should marry for love.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie shows a couple of brief kisses on the mouth between Isabelle and Jack.
None of concern
- piss off; traitorous bastard; hell of a...; freak; like hell
Ideas to discuss with your children
Jack the Giant Slayer is an adaptation of the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale. It is a fantasy adventure targeting a teenage audience, particularly boys.
The movie has a lot of violence, with gruesome deaths and scary visual images that might disturb younger viewers. For example, horrible-looking giants rip the heads off men and eat them. The giants themselves also meet gruesome deaths.
The movie is therefore not recommended for children under 13 years, who might be attracted to it because of their familiarity with the original fairytale. We also strongly recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years. The movie is unlikely to entertain adults because it lacks character development and the plot is predictable.
The main message from this movie is that power is dangerous when put in the hands of people who are corrupt. People who wield power should use it to make the world a better place and put the needs of others above their own.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include bravery, courage and selflessness, as shown by Jack, Elmont, King Bramwell and Isabelle.