A fairy tale character who is about to flunk out of fairy tale school, Jack must perform a heroic deed by Monday or fail miserably, just like his father before him. Anxious to make good, Jack sells his C.O.W. (Computer of Wonder) for a handful of magic beans and a mysterious book that records his adventures as he's having them. Accompanied by his sidekick Grayson -- a goose who ate a bean and underwent an amazing transformation -- Jack climbs the magic beanstalk to recover the fabled Harp of Destiny from the evil Giant who lives in the sky. Helping Jack on his perilous quest is the spunky Jillian, a fearless young girl whom Jack meets on his journey -- and who just may have a hidden agenda... Written by
In the pawnshop scene, Wallace Shawn offers to trade Jack Iocane Powder for his C.O.W. but then decides that it is far too poisonous. This fictional powder is the same powder that led to Wallace's demise in the cult classic The Princess Bride See more »
In the pillow-fight scene, the stunt double for Jillian (Chloe Moretz) receives several close-ups where the face is clearly seen to be Asian. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, Jack is rescuing a damsel in distress who is being held prisoner in a modern building guarded by a high-tech security system which has a female voice asking,"Who goes there?"
But it's not real. Jack lives in a fairy-tale world and his stern teacher does not like to see Jack daydream. Many of the familiar children from fairy tales are in the class. Jack is learning how to be a hero, unlike his long-lost father who is regarded as a coward.
Since Jack is having difficulty in class, he is given the advice to sacrifice his most important possession. Even though people dress as Europeans did over a century ago, this world has manga, rock music and even video games. Jack's prized possession is the video game C.O.W., and a pawn shop appears mysteriously. The owner wants to give Jack a lot of money but that would not be a true sacrifice. Jack actually talks the man down and is given three beans.
When Jack gets home, has mother is sad because she has lost her job. Elves come in at night and finish her work, so she has been fired because she is not needed. She doesn't know what they are going to do. Jack tries to get his C.O.W. back but the pawn shop disappears as mysteriously as it came. All Jack has is a book of his adventures, which has only blank pages for now. So all he can do is throw his beans out the window. Grayson the Goose eats one and the others grow into a giant beanstalk.
Grayson now looks human and can talk. He wakes Jack, and they soon begin their climb. Grayson is reluctant but eventually goes along.
At the top of the beanstalk, our heroes discover a kingdom ruled by a giant. Verri Saddus has lost his granddaughter Destiny, now a harp, and only Jack can get her back. The journey begins, and each time a milestone is reached, Jack's book tells more of the story. With the help of Jillian and a guard who can only say the opposite of the truth, Jack and Grayson must find the giant's castle and free Destiny. Grayson has an interesting quirk: when he gets scared, he lays golden eggs. Yes, HE lays eggs.
Meanwhile, back on the ground, Jack's mother is horrified when she sees the beanstalk and discovers Jack missing. The townspeople don't seem too concerned and in fact, they want the beanstalk cut down because it is a hazard. Three cops named Who, What and Where are given the job of finding Jack, but all they really do is a funny parody of Abbott and Costello.
So will Jack be a hero? Will the beanstalk be cut down, leaving him stranded?
This is a very good movie, with nothing offensive unless you don't like potty humor. But the movie still got a TV-G rating. I saw "Dumb and Dumberer" the same weekend, and if you want offensive potty humor ...
Plenty of actors give very good performances.
Colin Ford and Chloe Grace Moretz are wonderful as the children with the largest roles.
Gilbert Gottfried is as annoying as always, but his goose is one of the best things about the movie. At some point in the past I learned to accept his very brash style.
Katey Sagal is wonderful as Jack's mom, so normal and loving, until she gets upset and then she's more like the outrageous townspeople.
It is never explained why most of the people have British accents but Jack and his mother don't. Oh, well ...
Daniel Roebuck is appropriately over-the-top as the town's mayor.
There is a sepia-tone silent movie as Verri Saddus tells his story through flashbacks. There is music and narration, and eventually even sound from the past even though the style is still that of silent movies.
James Earl Jones is his usual vicious villain. As with Darth Vader, he doesn't appear, but the giant in this version is no bigger than an NBA player.
It's a worthy effort.
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