Jack the Giant Slayer Movie Poster Image

Jack the Giant Slayer



Fantasy violence eased by humor in tween-friendly adventure.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: February 28, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As is generally the case in fantasy adventures, selflessness is rewarded, and a couple is allowed to marry for love instead of status. The dangers of power in the hands of the corrupt is made clear.

Positive role models

Jack is heroic, smart, and sensitive. He's willing to risk his life to save Princess Isabelle -- and all of Albion -- not for glory but because it's the right thing to do. The king is able to make a selfless decision to save his people, even if it comes at a devastating personal cost. Isabelle is independent and speaks her mind, but she really does need to be saved on more than one occasion. Elmont is willing to face down Roderick and the giants even though he could have escaped.


There's a significant body count and plenty of fantasy violence. People die plunging to their deaths, being eaten/trampled/burned alive by the giants, or squashed when the enormous beanstalk falls back on the kingdom. The king's guardians (and Jack) kill giants as well, usually with a knife or sword, but also with flaming arrows. One well-liked character is killed in a gruesome way. The giants tear the humans apart to eat them.


Lingering looks lead to hand holding, embraces, and two kisses.


Very infrequent use of "hell" and "piss off," plus some mild insults like "stupid" and "idiot" and one interrupted "F--" exclamation. Also some scatological humor (the giants burp, fart, and pick/eat their boogers).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Jack and the Giant Slayer is a big-budget adaptation of the classic English fairy tale. It's full of swashbuckling action, computer-generated fantasy violence, and considerable collateral damage. The violence is the result of the vengeful giants holding an (understandable) grudge against the humans. People die from being eaten (the giants tear people apart to eat them) or burned, plunging to their deaths, getting crushed, and other catastrophes. There are also sword fights, and a well-liked character meets a particularly gruesome end. There's mild romance between Jack and Princess Isabelle (they flirt and share a couple of sweet, chaste kisses) and a little bit of language ("hell," "bastared," etc.). In classic fairy tale tradition, the hero is brave and selfless, and the heroine -- while definitely up for adventure -- finds herself in need of saving on more than one occasion.

What's the story?

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER retells the old English fairy tale about a farm boy named Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who grows up hearing the legend of King Erik, who defeated giants of Gantua, a land between heaven and Earth. While at market to sell his uncle's horse and cart, Jack meets and defends the honor of Princess Isabelle (who's disguised as a commoner) and sells his horse to a desperate monk, who gives Jack a sack of beans and the promise of treasure if he keeps them safe. After Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) escapes the palace for an adventure and ends up at Jack's farm, one of the beans accidentally gets wet and shoots up -- Jack's farm and the princess along with it. The king (Ian McShane) dispatches his head guardian, Elmont (Ewan McGregor), to climb the stalk, and Jack, now smitten with Isabelle, volunteers to join the rescue. But their mission is thwarted by the king's counselor (and Isabelle's betrothed), Roderick (Stanley Tucci), who wants to use an ancient crown to rule the giants and the kingdom below it.

Is it any good?


The Princess Bride this is not. Yes, there's a compellingly duplicitous villain in Roderick and the understandably vengeful giants, but there's not much character development or clever dialogue, or even a particularly epic romance. The special effects and the scatological humor make it obvious that this fantasy is aimed at tween boys -- the only members of an audience who would laugh at a giant picking and then eating his own booger.

At least the leads are likable enough. Hoult, who also starred in the much more memorable Warm Bodies, is a talented young leading man, and Tomlinson is luminous and regal as the adventure-seeking princess. But neither their charm nor the rest of the impressive cast can fully overcome the film's weaknesses. The CGI eye candy will keep tweens and teens entertained, but in the end, for a movie about giants, there's not much weight to this spectacle.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Jack the Giant Slayer compares to other versions of the tale. Were you surprised at how it compares to the Jack and the Beanstalk tale you remember?

  • There's a lot of fantasy violence in the movie. Do you think the movie would have been more appropriate for younger kids if fewer people had been shown dead/dying/killed? What purpose, if any, does the violence serve?

  • Why is the idea of a peasant falling in love with a royal so compelling? Was the romance in this story believable? What did Jack and Isabelle have in common, despite the difference in their status?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 1, 2013
DVD release date:June 18, 2013
Cast:Ewan McGregor, Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci
Director:Bryan Singer
Studio:Warner Bros.
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Fairy tales
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byStevie111 March 1, 2013

Violent fantasy adventure has dazzling effects, action and humor

What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old March 1, 2013

"Ew" and "Eh?"

Instead of writing a long, drawn out review, there's really a simple way to sum up this movie- "ew" and "eh?". It's definitely not Bryan Singer's best movie, and it's really not that much of a great movie at all. I'd say it's worth one watch, maybe two if you're seeing it in the theaters. I didn't see it in 3D, but I did see it in IMAX, and it's pretty intense in both images and startle scenes/loud sounds. In other words, CSM is right about this one in that it's best for 11 year olds and up. Despite being PG-13, a lot of the deaths are pretty disturbing- giants eat people repeatedly (not gory, but rather gross despite seen from a far in that you can clearly see what's going on). In fact, there are a lot of just gross scenes, in that the giants are really disgusting beings. Once again, the bottom line is "ew" and "eh?". (SPOILERS) Oh, and in one scene, Jack drops a magic bean down a giant's throat and it explodes, kind of in a gory way.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 March 3, 2013

superb fairy tale twist has incredible action, but may be too graphic for tweens

another film on my top action movies, Jack the Giant Slayer is one heck of a fun ride. filled with constant action, great actors, and beautiful special effects. even though its a fantasy film, it still has enough destruction and killings to make it way too intense for younger kids. this film continues the streak of violent (and much better) fairy tale movies. its crammed with wall to wall fantasy violence. there are stabbings, slicings, crushings, burnings, people getting eaten onscreen and falling from great heights. giants are killed in those ways also, but i is killed by a giant beanstalk that explodes him and crushes his second head, making an eye fly out. theres also massive destruction with the beanstalk, a bell, and flaming trees. alongside the strong violence, is 1 fully pronounced f**k
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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