If you go into this movie expecting wall-to-wall action and adventure, you will be very disappointed. I didn’t so I loved it. Its a good retelling of the story we all generally remember. It’s different than the original, thank goodness, but does borrow a lot of the familiar elements. It’s not a cow he’s selling it’s a horse, it’s not his mother who is cross with him but his uncle, and the beans are still magic but this time we know how they came to be.
There is also a princess. I’ve seen other reviews compare her to Merida in Brave, but no she’s not. I think it’s just what’s going to happen to any princess in a movie who is not a spoiled brat or arm candy. She doesn’t want her marriage to arranged and she wants more out of life than sitting around the castle. But other than that, she’s no Merida.
Special effects I thought were great, they lent well to the fairytale aspect of the story without being over the top. I didn’t see it in 3D so don’t know if it worked there. I only saw a few times where the giants scale was out of whack which is pretty good considering some other movies I’ve seen.
Casting was very good as well. Nicholas Hoult (Jack) has probably a couple more years of being the lanky, adorable, and slightly lost protagonist before he needs to really sink his teeth into something dramatic. I think he could do it, just needs the right part. Eleanor Tomlinson (Princess Isabelle) did what she could with the role she was given. It’s like the movie wanted her to be strong but not too strong lest she overshadow Jack, but still there was room for her to grow and she really didn’t . Ewan McGregor was good as Elmont, head of the Kings guard. He can convey so much with a look or a smirk which was good because gave some more depth to his character. And Stanley Tucci, who I like in everything I’ve seen him in creates a very convincing, conniving Roderick.
I’m not sure if I would consider this a kids movie, depends on how much they can just watch long interludes of story instead of action.