June 27, 2017

Too Bad “Jack the Giant Slayer” is Rated PG-13

Jack the Giant SlayerBy Julie Samrick

The latest spin on a classic fairytale begins and ends as a bedtime story, but oddly enough Jack the Giant Slayer shuts the door on the under 13 crowd.

 

In this version, the legendary beans that come into “Jack and the Beanstalk’s” possession are ancient relics, passed down over the ages until their dangerous powers are stopped with the burial of legendary ruler, King Erik. Yet poor, farm boy Jack still retrieves them, and though he’s heard the legend of the beans’ power since he was a tot, he never knew they could cause such a commotion. That is until Princess Isabel, heir to the throne, and King Erik’s descendant, comes into his life.

 

There is another famous children’s story inadvertently referenced in “Jack.” When Jack and a few other humans arrive at the mythical land in the clouds atop the beanstalk, one character’s wearing of a simple crown brings the giants to their knees and complicates the plot.  I’ll bet Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak was at least thought of when producers brought “Jack” to the 21st Century. The following passage from Sendak’s classic tale comes to mind and, if pointed out, older children are sure to see the similarities as well:

 

And when he came to the place where the wild things are

they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

till Max said “BE STILL!”

and tamed them with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things.”

 

The giants are what make the film memorable, but they’re also why the film is rated PG-13. They’re shown close-up, with mangy skin, decaying teeth, and an appetite for human flesh.  It’s insinuated they eat people and animals, with them holding up the much smaller creatures and putting them toward their mouths. The film is also rated PG-13 because of knife fights and people pushed down the beanstalk to their deaths.

 

The movie is not going to win best picture, mainly because the writing is weak. When Jack climbs the beanstalk and deadpans phrases like, “I’m not too fond of heights,” adult and savvier viewers will groan. Yet the film, just like the fairytale, is meant for children and if they’d have cut just a little more of the gore, it would have been a great film for the very audience for which it is most intended.

 

Kid Focused Grades for “Jack the Giant Slayer”

Compelling story line- B

Strong message- B

Leading character is a role model- A

Sexual content – A (There is one kiss between Jack and the leading lady.)

Violence- C (The giants are grisly and there is lots of fighting)

Suited for the whole family- B- 

Overall Grade: B-

 

Jack The Giant Slayer, Rated PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes

 

A credentialed teacher, Julie Samrick is now a stay-at-home mother of four kids and the founder of Kid Focused.

 

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