Reel Critics: Been there, killed that 'Giant'

Director Bryan Singer made his mark in Hollywood in 1995 with the offbeat crime drama "The Usual Suspects." That success earned him the director's chair for big-time action flicks like "X-Men" and "Superman Returns." He now enters the world of ancient fantasy adventure with "Jack the Giant Slayer."

It's based on the fairy tale of "Jack and the Beanstalk" but has a giant budget of $200 million. That money bought epic special effects, turning the simple story into an overblown extravaganza. Relentless battle scenes mimic the action in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Some good actors enter the inevitable fray. Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Ewan McGregor provide the royal contingent of warriors. Of course, a beautiful princess played by Eleanor Tomlinson becomes a damsel in distress. Of course, this requires a handsome young lad (Nicholas Hoult) to come to her rescue.

They fight the ugly monsters with honor and courage. It's very well executed and produced. But it's all so predictable and familiar. The two-hour running time drags on to the inevitable and all-too-obvious conclusion.

Susanne Perez is off this week.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

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