Sunday, 2 June 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer -'Slaying Royalty' subtext.-rough edit.

While watching the 2013 film Jack the Giant Slayer i could not help but notice some oddities that , at least for me, made it more interesting and gave me a chance to exercise, and show the benefit of, critical thinking . The first thing i noticed, about what i assumed was just a standard action/romance film was that the lead giant resembled famous German actor Klaus Kinski.
There is no denying it, since i was familiar with Herzog films.
Specifically the giant is modeled on a character Kinski played in the Werner Herzog film 'Aguirre , the wrath of God'.

The film is about a ruthless Spanish conquistador called Aguirre and his obsessive quest for  El Eldorado or the mythical Aztec city of gold.In the film South American natives are murdered for blasphemy because they do not recognise or bow to the bible.The film has heavy themes of obsession, religious corruption and religious motivated violence and hypocrisy.


In Jack the Giant Slayer however, the giants fighting the king have strong Irish accents, (which has to be intentional)  the second in command giant also has a curious ethnic looking face, that could be black or Australian aboriginal.All these particular groups have suffered at the hands of an expansionist British Empire.

The toffs have bizarre uniforms with pretty obvious wings attached. Aristocracy and religion (remember the bowing which we will see later) all tried to link their own position to  supernatural abilities, the idea your position was due to divine power.  (Worth sticking with, and reading the whole article).

This is easier when most of your society cannot read of course.
From the back Ewan Mcgregor's toff knight gets wings too.

The King from the back with ermin trimmed angels wings.

Aside from the odd mix of historical costumes and inaccuracy we also have this odd Kaiser character who seems to be modeled after the last German Emperor Wilhelm 2nd.He was the grandson of Queen Victoria (European Royalty are all inter bred, before the first world war our Royal family was called 'The Sax Coburgs, it was changed to Windsor after the first world war for fear it would stir up anti royal feeling).

The film script has an obsession with crowns, with characters bowing to the crown, caring little for who wears it.  In the final scene, one of the giants drops a giant catapult as he bows, the children's toy divides the scene, effectively suggesting bowing to a crown is a childish act.

In fact the giants themselves lose their anger in seconds when faced with a crown, bowing and scraping, the King and the toff knight exchange a cheeky grin when the giants bow.

The end of the film Jack , now married, is telling a story to his children, the camera adopts a curious path. Closing in on this story book next to a Faberge egg.Originally made for the Russian royal family.Russian royalty ruled over a serf system (slavery).
We next see, while Jack reads a fairy tale to his children, a prolonged process of the making of the Crown Jewell's.  Jacks narration about fairy tales is linked to the making of this ostentatious looking crown.Then we cut to a group of children on a visit to Windsor castle.
A straggler writing in a notebook finds time to look at the crown and laugh knowingly, the implication being; a schoolboy gets 'the joke' why don't we?
The film ends with a big panoramic shot with the ancient castle nestled in a corner of the modern 2013 city of London.Panning up eventually to the giants city above it all.

The visual metaphors in the film are a bit clunking and the script is poor, but the subtext is pretty clear, the film is using the Jack and the Beanstalk story to show the ridiculous social phenomenon of royalty and crown worship.

This hidden subtext  made the film more interesting.

I might do a post on using critical thinking at some stage, since its benefits far outweigh the effort it takes.

Thanks for taking the time to read, if you have any comments or questions please leave some, i always reply. 


  1. Wow he really looks like that actor haha and yeah it was pretty awful, never thought of the subtext, but it surely makes sense.

    1. Thanks Patt, it was interesting to spot a hidden theme, most films are fairly direct and have no subtext, this was a rare example.


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