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<Movie Details
9 December 2013 by Elliott Noble

Once upon a time there was a movie that stayed faithful to its fairy tale roots while adding some welcome folkloric touches of its own.

It had a director with a strong sense of adventure, traditional storybook settings, and budget enough to present its every new trick and trinket in pop-up 3D.

Thus does the story unfold, with a largely animated preamble telling of how marauding giants feasted on mankind until a great king banished them to their own world far above Earth.

The tale is a favourite of every youngster in the land of Cloister, from lowly peasants like Jack (Hoult) to the king’s only daughter, Isabelle (Tomlinson, Alice In Wonderland).

Now normally, commoner Jack and high-born Isabelle would never meet in a million years. But one day, Jack saves Isabelle’s honour while she moves incognito down the local market.

Alas, in his euphoria he allows a mad monk to talk him into swapping his horse for a handful of dry beans. The deal does not go down well at home. Yet no sooner has his uncle stormed out in disgust than fair Isabelle turns up at the door.

She too has stormed out, for her father the King (Ian McShane) has betrothed her to his smarmy advisor Roderick (Stanley Tucci).

But just as the young romantics are cursing their luck, the rain gets to one of Jack's beans. The next thing he knows, both Isabelle and the farm are gone, replaced by five vertical miles of beanstalk.

And that’s where the adventures really begin as Jack joins gallant royal guard Elmont (McGregor) and the rest of the rescue party on a journey that takes them up, up and awaaaarrgghh to the land of the giants.

There’s no shortage of incident as people are saved from the cooking pot, Roderick shows his truly rotten colours, and a power struggle breaks out among the monsters as they prepare to end their banishment and wreak terrible revenge.

Led by Bill Nighy’s two-headed ogre General Fallon, the giants are so well-realised you can smell them, gloriously foul mountains of irredeemable ugliness and palpable grot.

Thankfully, there’s enough beanstalk-fed, battle-seasoned meat on this Giant Slayer’s bones to sate most appetites for adventure.