The story here is fairly well known, with a few twists added in to "modernize" it: The poor commoner who sets the mayhem in motion, the adventurous princess tired of being protected, an ancient enemy set loose, the evil fiancé, and the king that wants them all to be safe and happy.
The costumes run the gamut from almost contemporary looking to pure fantasy. According to costume designer Joanna Johnston, she took inspiration from 16th century Belgian Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel and 19th century English painter William Waterhouse, Alexander McQueen and guys on the streets today, and combining that with traditional medieval shapes. In addition to clothing the skin and bones actors, Johnson also created the costumes for the CGI giants, making sure they had the right amount of organic, rotting filthiness to convey the extreme age and poor hygiene of their wearers.
Our hero, Jack, wears a medieval version of a hoodie and leather jacket with work pants. They suit his low status and poverty, while giving modern eyes something familiar enough not to be distracting. Elmont, the soldier, gets to wear what I believe is the coolest armor around. It is made up of asymmetrically studded black leather, and has a really wicked shoulder fin that would deflect any swinging broad sword. As befits Ms. Johnson’s abilities, the other leading characters also have some terrific costumes, especially the coordinating armor worn by the King and the Princess.
Unlike a lot of other reviews I’ve seen, I really enjoyed this movie – much more than some of the other fairytale films that have been making the rounds. It is basically family friendly, though there is a good amount of violence. The visuals are well done (I saw the film in 2D) and the CGI aspects of the film are convincingly realistic. It was an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
Reviewer: Michael Black, FIDM Museum Coordinator