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4.3 out of 5 stars67
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2012
I always loved this as a kid, and it only seems to appear on the TV every 6 years or so in the UK. Now we have this timely release to co-incide with the films' 50th birthday and the soon to be released remake.
The film is still fabulous after all this time. Great Techicolour photography, lavish costumes, an energetic cast - including the handsome Kerwin Mathews who had also played Sinbad a few years before. Above all, it has an exciting plot, and keeps the viewer interested and entertained throughout.
Some of the scenes may be a bit scary for the very young, eg under 6, with scenes of ghostly skeleton faces and witches and ogres etc, so this is a PG certificate with that in mind, but this is generally perfect family fare, and kids nowadays see much more than they ought to.

Probably not a good idea to compare this with The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Yes, it has a similar cast, and theme and director, but the animation is a bit jerky and the monsters look fake for the most part. It makes up for it however, with lots of colourful spells and magical touches, and if anything, is less corny than Sinbad, with better dialogue and pace, and certainly a nastier streak running through it than the Sinbad film.

The real shame is the DVD release itself. You would have thought that a film never before released on any home entertainment format in the UK, celebrating it's 50th year, would deserve a real special edition treatment. What do we get here? The film, presented in a sort of widescreen format and with a reasonably nice Technicolour print- although it was shot in 1:37 apparently, so we must be missing top and bottom bits to accomodate the masking, and a reproduction miniature poster. That's it! Not even a trailer. So no interviews - ( admittedly, most of the cast and director are sadly no longer with us, but somebody could have been found to comment on the movie surely?) No making of feature, no production stills or posters. A very sparse release indeed. The movie deserved more I think.
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on 30 November 2014
God, it took me ages to find this film on the appropriate format, so I swooped on it upon release! This brings back some cherished memories when I was a young chap, especially the opening fight Jack has with the club wielding monster which naturally he conquers with great elan. It was films such has this which could break up our 20 a side football matches on the local field. I well remember my mother shouting, " Hurry up, Jack the Giant Killer's on", I sped off home, and a good number of my mates scurried off home too! Naturally some of my pals were fed up and catcalls followed, but they obviously had no sense of fantasy. To top things off my mum had brought home chips and gravy from the local Chippy, Oh what heaven!
Jumping ahead to today this film and it's special effects looks terribly dated by the standards set by a new generation of movie makers. However, we all have films which define our upbringing and this is one of mine.
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on 13 February 2007
After seeing this movie recently, it has gone on to be one of my favourite films. it has everything, charm, romance, vikings, leprechauns, an evil sorcerer and plenty of giants. a traditional fairytale with some "interesting" monsters, you can tell the designers really went to town to create unique and chilling creatures, my favourite being a shapely witch with a head like an open maw, which can emit hurricane force gales. Its all a bit of fun, with a rhyming leprechaun in a bottle who aids jack and a steriotypical viking who singlehandedly mans a warship. if you want a fantasy film whic sticks to the tried and tested formula, then this is a perfect film for you. it has the beautiful princess coming of age, getting kidnapped, getting rescued by a (very) handsome farm boy who is then knighted and charged with the safety of the princess who again gets kidnapped... la la la, etc, etc, etc. its all predictable stuff and leaves you with a warmth inside and a smile on your face.

i cant think of a bad thing to say about it, apart from the crude animation, but even that has its charm, and the cornyness of the whole thing but it is a great film and especially one for a rainy sunday in.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 February 2011
It's the fairy tale land of Cornwall, England, and the Black Prince Pendragon (Torin Thatcher) plans to abduct Princess Elaine (Judith Meredith) so as to gain control of the land. However, his plans are at first thwarted when farmers boy Jack (Kerwin Matthews) slays the giant sent by Pendragon to claim the Princess. But Pendragon is not to be denied and a battle between good and evil commences.

There's quite a back story to this United Artists feature film. It's loosely based on the traditional tale "Jack the Giant Killer" and features the use of stop motion animation. The mere mention of stop motion automatically brings to mind the great name of Ray Harryhausen. In 1958 director Nathan Juran had helmed The 7th Voyage of Sinbad with both Matthews and Thatcher starring as the good and evil characters respectively. A big success for Columbia, Harryhausen had offered it to UA producer Edward Small who turned it down, much to his regret. So here, four years later, he gathered the same crew for what essentially is a retread of the plot of Sinbad's seventh in the hope of replicating said success. Harryhausen, however, said no, perhaps understandably, so his creatures were created for "Jack" by Project Unlimited under the watchful eye of one time Harryhausen understudy Jim Danforth. While the other effects, filmed in "Fantascope" come courtesy of Howard A. Anderson and Augie Lohman.

Columbia sued Small on the grounds of plot similarity, thus holding up the release of the film in the UK for several years (it wasn't banned as some people seem to think). Once released the film was panned by the critics and many parents were outraged that the film was too violent and scary for youngsters. Small would take this personally and intending to make something of the movie, had it re-dubbed and made into a musical. The result of which is just garbage. Thankfully the film was finally restored to its original glory on DVD and found a whole new generation of fantasy adventure fans with a bent for the lost art of stop motion animation. Kerwin Matthews passed away in 2007, a handsome swashbuckling actor, Jack The Giant Killer was his last foray into the fantasy adventure realm. It's at least comforting to know that he got to see this little treasure of a film finally get accepted by an audience.

The film itself delivers everything one expects of the genre. The creatures are effective, even if the jerkiness shows that it's not Harryhausen at the helm; tho this is off set by a wonderful sequence as electricity cloaked witch demons attack Jack's ship. There's a dashing hero, a pretty princess, a vile and chilling evil doer, hell there's even the little imp of the lamp (Don Beddoe) for some limerick shenanigans. The production design is quality, where the set decoration of the Pendragon Castle and the costuming for some of the grotesque characters who dwell within, is period and genre strong. From its delightful story book opening to its final battle between hero and villain, Jack The Giant Killer is a rich and playful fantasy. 7/10
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on 27 October 2015
It was on one weekend morning, and quite certain it was on a Saturday when I watched this amazing magical fantasy film on television.
I saw it on BBC 2 and I will never forget watching this for the first time as a little lad. Most memorable for me because of the amazing special effects and stop motion monsters. Many would say that the movie was a Ray Harryhausen film, but in truth, it was not. The special effects were handled by, among others, animators Wah Chang, Gene Warren and Jim Danforth. In their defence, they didn't build the models themselves and, therefore, they were not as mobile as they would have liked, limiting the model's movements somewhat and reducing the smoothness of the animation.
The main plot of the film is about a young man, Jack played by Kerwin Matthews who defends a princess against a sorcerer's giants and demons. Torin Thatcher stars as the sorcerer Pendragon who attempts to capture the princess and have him as his evil witch, and also plots revenge against the King of Cornwall. There are a number of monsters in this classic film, from a one eyed giant called Cormoran, a two-headed giant called Galligantua, a tentacled sea monster, ghosts, armoured knights, and of course a dragon.
I have recently acquired the DVD of this film and for all you fantasy fans, this movie will entrance you from start to finish when I first watched it as a young boy. Since then, I have seen it at least 4 or 5 times now, and I will never tire of watching it.
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on 25 August 2011
For a childrens' film in the style of a fairytale, this is one SCARY picture - some of the stop-motion violence is quite harsh and the witches !.. Well, the witches are seriously macabre and the weird and the cheap looking but effective visuals that surround them in their big scene make them appear like what I imagine a very bad fever induced nightmare might be. I'm not sure who the director was aiming for with this but it came as quite a shock to me when I was a kid and still prompts an involuntary shiver in places.
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on 5 July 2012
This looks like a PAL conversion of the USA release from the DVD release several years ago. It is Letterboxed 4x3 aspect ratio.A 16x9 version, with a hint of restoration would have been much, much better.101 films should have put a lot more effort into the technical standard in this release.
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on 17 April 2013
I'm a huge fan of Harrthausen, specifically Jason and the Argonauts and of course 7th voyage of Sinbad. Jack the giant killer has the same director as 7th voyage, I guess it was made in response to the popularity of it. However, this isn't a work of Harryhausens' and although the stop motion has a certain charm it in no way can compete with the technical brilliance Harryhausen brings to the table. The film does have a magical charm about it but falls short on many levels. It is enjoyable nonetheless.
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on 10 July 2012
This is a film I really like so am a bit biased in this review. The new release by 101 films is to be welcomed, after all for it to be released is obviously better than chasing down import versions. The new release is a bit barebones, its the film in 4:3 ratio and nothing else. Nothing but the film itself is on this disc. The copy in my opinion having just finished watching it is very acceptable, clean print, nice bright colours and only one scene that has a "jump" in it. All round very good and most watch-able indeed. Yes its a shame it is not restored but better to have than not I think and it is (to labour the point) a really good, watchable print 8/10 in my opinion.

The film is brilliant, completely mad in its mix of mild horror, fairy tale, stop frame and traditional animation, colour filters, and crazy crazy costumes.........a great tale better for old kids than young ones I'd say given today's sensibilities.......

The dvd also contains a small print of the cover art.......

Well worth buying......
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on 30 December 2007
I got this for Christmas and I have to say I was very sceptical, I didn't think I'd enjoy it. But after one viewing I thought it was wonderful! The tale of Jack and his battle against the Sorcerer Pendragon and the giants has many similarities to The first Sinbad film, for instance the first giant is almost exactly the same as Harryhausen's cyclops, but it has a different look and style. This is great family viewing.
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