I watch a lot of bad movies. It’s assumed sometimes that I will, therefore, watch EVERY bad movie. If only! But for many reasons, I just can’t.
Partially, that’s not fiscally possible, since Adam Sandler puts out at least four movies a year and that’s without the Apatow contingent spitting out another cumulative half-dozen. Partially, because apparently I need to sleep during some hours of the day, unfortunately, and my computer would explode from overheating if I watched Netflix 24/7. Partially, because sometimes I use my movie-hours to watch actual good movies. But partially, because there are some movies that just seem too dreadful even for me.
A kind soul asked me at Monday’s fairy tale event if I was going to see the Jack the Giant Killer/Slayer movie, and seemed surprised I wouldn’t, given that I had seen Hansel and Gretel the night it opened.
Fair cop. However, Hansel and Gretel was, as advertised, everything delightfully bad that one could imagine, rolled up in a ball held together with cello tape and wrapped in medieval parchment newspapers like some sort of glorious movie gift the world didn’t know it needed, and Jack the Giant Slayer has one trailer in which a phalanx of angry giants angrily tosses a handful of beans at the screen, and another trailer in which all this happens:
You know the thing keeping me from seeing this movie, in which giants named Fee, Fye, Foe, and Fumm wreak havoc upon Medieval-landia?
How dull it looks.
I mean, if you wanted to utterly commit to the idea of a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling (you shouldn’t want that, but Bryan “Barely Adequate” Singer must have), then you have to do a Ewan McGregor and adopt your best Errol Flynn affect with the assurance of someone who realizes he’s making a terrible movie no one will ever actually see. You must Who Cares? with all your might! Trying to balance your grim CGI giant battles with occasional self-aware Oh Ho Ho Funtimes is damn tricky work. (If Hansel and Gretel, as a meta-film, had cracked a smile even once at its Ye Olde Wanted Posterres, one of the finest movie props of our time would have lost all its power.)
Though I’m a fan of many of the actors appearing in it (or, in the case of Ben Daniels, who voices Fumm, not appearing in it, giving him a chance to skip that movie altogether and have a serious talk with his agent instead), so much of it looks bog-standard both in adaptation and execution (only one lady, Princess Love Interest; giants trying to eat people is hilarious pig-roll funtimes until you need stand-in orcs at which point they’re terrifying; actors sharing a frame yet existing thematically in two or more completely different movies), I’d need pretty big assurances that there’s any sort of joy to be wrung from this movie. It might not take much for me to wring joy from it, but someone else is going to have to scout that ground.
Until then, if I can’t laugh with, and I can’t laugh at, I’ll be at home, watching that TV version of Snow White where the hidden-prince jester has been raising her up in secret to be his child bride, because as inexplicable as it is, it is not dull, and someone’s got to do a Questionable Taste Theatre about it, and I can sit through THAT terror for free.