Jack the Giant Slayer

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Jack the Giant Slayer Movie Poster Image
Fantasy violence eased by humor in tween-friendly adventure.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 115 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language

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).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywallyk2334 March 4, 2013

Very good movie made better in IMAX 3D

I took my 9 year old son to see this movie in IMAX 3D and we both loved it. I was a little worried about the violence after reading about the people getting ea... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written bymollysmom704 March 3, 2013

Fun for tweens and teens

Took two 11 year old girls to see this - they loved it, it was perfect for them. Probably perfect for tween girls and tween/teen boys. Violent but not gory alt... Continue reading
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love fantastical adventures

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate