DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Jack the Giant Slayer, Blu-ray 3D (2013)

A fun version of the classic fairytale, with fantastic 3D and D-Box effects.

Published on June 30, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer, Blu-ray 3D (2013)

Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor
Director: Bryan Singer
Studio: Warner Brothers Home Ent. [6/18/13] (Blu-ray 3D+Blu-ray+DVD+UV Digital Copy)
Video: Anamorphic/enhanced 2.40:1 for 16:9 1080p HD 3D
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA; French or Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: (3D Blu-ray): “Man of Steel” 3D trailer; (2D Blu-ray): “Become a Giant Slayer” interactive feature with eight featurettes (“Know Your Enemy”, “Suiting Up”, “Attack Tactics”, “The Magic of a Beanstalk”, “How to Zip”, “Giants’ Kitchen”, “Saving the Princess” and “Defending Your Kingdom”); Five deleted scenes; Gag reel; DVD copy; UltraViolet digital copy
Length: 114 minutes
Movie Rating: ****  3D Rating: *****   2D Rating: *****
Audio Rating: *****  D-BOX Rating: *****

Jack the Giant Slayer is a new interpretation of the classic fantasy story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  In this version, a race of bloodthirsty giants were defeated in battle centuries ago by the humans and then banished to a kingdom in the sky.  As the story now unfolds, Jack (Nicholas Hoult), a simple farm boy, has acquired some mystical beans in trade from a monk in the town square.  Jack takes these beans back to his farmhouse where one bean accidentally falls through the floorboards.

As fate would have it, the kingdom’s princess, Isabelle, happens upon Jack’s farmhouse that same evening.  After Jack invites her inside, the bean below transforms into a rapidly growing stalk that thrusts the farmhouse skyward.  Jack is ejected from the house but the princess is trapped as the stalk and house ascend into the clouds.  The following morning, the king sends a group of his finest soldiers, along with volunteer Jack, to climb the stalk and rescue the princess.  When Jack and the soldiers eventually reach the top of the stalk, they discover the kingdom of giants who are only too eager to return to the world below and conquer the humans.  I have seen a few movie versions of this tale over the years, and I can easily say that this one is the best so far.  The visual and sound effects are spectacular and the 3D is very well done.  Fans of action-packed, popcorn-type flicks should give this film a look and 3D enthusiasts will definitely want to add this Blu-ray combo pack to their collections.  Recommended.

The overall high-definition video quality of the 2D Blu-ray presentation is excellent.  Images are pristine with super-sharp detail.  Black levels are uniformly lush and deep throughout the movie.  Colors are warm and rich with well-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is near perfect with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The 3D video was shot in native 3D.  Colors and black levels exhibit the same excellent qualities present in the 2D version.  Separation, dimensionality and depth of the 3D image are all fantastic.  There are a handful of pop-out effects that appear to extend beyond the screen (such as raindrops, swords, stones, etc.), but the 3D focuses more on the inward-looking effect than outward-extending.

The overall audio quality is also excellent with the English DTS HD-MA 5.1 track.  The soundtrack is loud, dynamic and makes generous use of all of the discrete channels.  Fortunately, dialogue is crisp and remains audible during all of the on-screen action.  The surround channels are aggressively utilized for the sound effects and music score. The low frequency effects channel is booming and room-rattling.

Jack the Giant Slayer is compatible with the “D-BOX” Motion Code™ System, meaning that if you have the necessary D-BOX equipment, your movie viewing experience will be enhanced by adding both motion and vibration to your chosen seating.  This is a great D-BOX movie!  Motion and vibration are in full-effect, with everything ranging from floating to tilting to jolting.  Specific scenes to check out for demo-worthy D-BOX moments are: (1) any time a giant walks or runs (it feels like the ground is shaking); (2) the crashing down of the beanstalk; and (3) the battle at the castle in the climatic ending.  The D-BOX Motion Code encoding worked particularly well for this movie and definitely made it a more interactive experience.

—Calvin Harding Jr.




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