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‘Jack the Giant Killer’ Trailer Seeks to Slay Your Expectations

If 2011 had the summer of second-string superhero movies, 2012 is fighting just as hard to make the blockbuster season all about fairy tale adaptations. Now, making $100-plus million on a fable that skews to the 15-30-year-old crowd is going to require a fair bit of “grim-ifying” the source material, and that case in point is the dour and guitar riff-heavy first trailer for Jack the Giant Killer.

Go ahead and blame the music choices on the Internet’s surprisingly favorable reaction to the electronic-backed first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman. Tonally though, this first look at Jack the Giant Killer seems a little out of touch. It’s hard to take the situation as seriously as the characters do when the opening narration uses the phrase “holy relics” to describe a handful of Spitz, though the trailer tries its damndest to make slow-mo royalty and peasants seem important (note the dual instances of the “intense reveal” sound at 0:13 and 1:02).

Granted, it's based on the grimmer, Norse-influenced fable that's a cousin to the more well-known beanstalk story, but would it kill them to add a joke or two? Ah, but there I go, getting all cynical, when it’s that same attitude that’s forced every reimagining these days to be preceded by the word “dark”.

It’s a short trailer, and we don’t see much other than Jack (Nicholas Hoult) accidently growing a Birj Dubai-sized beanstalk that whisks away his sweetheart princess to a land in the sky. Jack should have paid more attention to the ominous voiceover, as his horticultural mishap sets off a war between the titular giants and his kingdom, the former of which is mostly cut around to maintain a bit of mystery.

With no major stars headlining onscreen (director Bryan Singer’s name still holds weight), Jack the Giant Killer’s fate could be in the hands of its competition. The aforementioned “Snow White” update premieres two weeks ahead of “Jack,” and its in-week competition is the Adam Sandler comedy I Hate You Dad. My advice for future marketing: more emphasis on flaming trees and Ewan McGregor as an elite giant-killer. I’m basing that on single shots and Wikipedia descriptions, but New Line is going to have to do something to give this film an appreciable identity. 


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