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DVD Review

DVD cover

Jack and the Beanstalk
The Real Story (2001) (2017 Reissue)


Starring: Matthew Modine, Mia Sara, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Attenborough, Daryl Hannah and James Corden
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 12 June 2017

Once upon a time, Jack and the Beanstalk was a fairy tale, but for Jonathan William Hapsburg Robinson (Jack, for short) it’s a part of history - a giant secret buried in the Robinson family closet for centuries. In order to undo the ancient family curse, Jack must return to a different place and time, to a fantastic world where fairy tales come true. Here a handful of beans really can produce magic, a goose really can lay a golden egg and a beanstalk does indeed reach into the heavens where an immortal giant lives, breathes and swears vengeance for all eternity...

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story is two-part made for TV movie directed and co-reworked by Brian Henson.

The first half of the movie pretty much sets up the twist for the second part. Here we're introduced to Jack Robinson, the last surviving heir to a vast empire and multimillion dollar business. He discovers that his riches have been passed down for generations and that in 1611, his ancestor was the famed Jack of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. It wasn't a story, it actually happened.

However, it's the second half where the writers put a spin on things,making not only Jack, but the viewer question everything they've ever believed. It's a film that also rewards the viewer if they watch it a second time. Some of the fairy tale elements of the story, that we take as gospel and pass on to the next generation, may not be quite so black and white.

I have to admit that at the half way point I was starting to wonder where on earth the writers were going with the story. We'd learned how Jack had inherited the family wealth, and where that had come from, but everybody already knows that story... The second half of the movie revisits what we think we know, but puts a more ethical, humanist spin on things.

Okay, the acting is questionable in places and it has a tendency to be a little too twee on occasion, but as a kid's film that the entire family can enjoy this ticks all the right boxes.


Darren Rea

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