IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1351685/
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci
Review: Ewan McGregor channels Eddie Izzard’s recent look along with Cary Elwes’ suave style from The Princess Bride while Nicholas Hoult plays hero, overcomes a fear of heights, and throws down with several rowdy Manc giants in order to save Eleanor Tomlinson’s semi-hapless princessy self.
So let me get this out of the way: I can’t in good conscience call this movie crap. I mean, it’s not high cinema, but it’s also not crap. Yeah, it got bad reviews and the various critic sites give it a lousy shake, but overall the movie is actually pretty fun. It’s full of the typical Bryan Singer “The Heroes Wear Black Leather,” sure, but it’s got heart, and it’s got humor, and it’s got a rather significantly impressive array of CGI villainy in the forms of the giants. Bonus: It’s got not one, not two, but a whopping THREE double crosses in it. What’s the last adventure movie you watched you could say that about?
Extra Bonus: Stanley Tucci’s character (“Roderick”) is clearly channeling Christopher Guest’s Count Rugen. And honestly, that, plus Ewan McGregor’s obvious call backs to Elwes’ Westley, along with the “Princess Falls In Love With Farm Boy” subplot running rampant through this film, really helped to endear it to me. The movie doesn’t take itself very seriously, overall, but the actors clearly had fun with it. McGregor (as Elmont), whilst rolled up in dough and about to become a veritable pig in a blanket (along with two full sized hogs), blithely informs Hoult (Jack) that he “had this” but that it “got away from me.” The overall soccer hooliganism of the giants plays well, as they generally sort of rude around in their enormous castle halls high in the sky, until given a direction and a purpose by their king and his magical crown. Or rather, by their magical crown and the fact that whoever has it is king.
There are some subtle moments in the film, such as when Isabel (Tomlinson) is explaining to Jack that the aqueducts and (completely mandatory) passages beneath the castle are her little secret, that no one else ever goes down there… to which Jack points out that someone must have, because apparently grave robbers have been down there breaking open the (also mandatory) crypts that line the walls. The camera pans back to the tomb in question, and we see that it is the burial place of King Aric, the selfsame king that we learned about in the opening cinematic (which, if they didn’t style that after the opener from Hellboy: The Golden Army, I’ll eat a pile of blueberries. I’m allergic to blueberries. This is no small bet on my part). Isabel notes that someone else must have known about them after all, and an astute viewer will finally have an answer to a nagging question that runs through the entire movie. I won’t spoil it for you, but you will get an answer.
Overall, it was enjoyable. It’ll never be highly rated, and it shows a ton of Singer-isms, but it’s not that bad, honestly. Certainly worth a cheap rental and a bucket of popcorn.
Where I found it: Netflix. Again. Only this time, I got it on disk. That’s right. DISK.
How much I paid for it: 114 minutes of pure, unadulterated, CGI-laden goofiness.
Points of interest: The “explanation” of the origins of the Crown Jewels of England at the end of the film was amusing and unexpected.
The Money Shot: There are two. I will henceforth and forever more call them “Ewan McGregor Does The Right Thing And Rides The Beanstalk To Hell” and “We Lose More Castles That Way.” Both involve beanstalks. Both involve ridiculous abuses of physics. Both are great.