Making the Grades
WHAT IF A FAIRY TALE wasn't a fairy tale?
That's a possibility Jack Robinson (Mathew Modine) is asked to consider when a beautiful and mysterious stranger (Mia Sara) accuses him of robbery, murder, and living a charmed existence. "Do you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk?" she queries.
Defending his good name, the business tycoon and only heir to a massive family fortune reminds the young woman of the enormous responsibilities of his workaholic life, and notes that instead of living "happily ever after," his bloodline seems cursed. Not one of the Jack Robinsons for the last fifteen generations has lived much past his fortieth birthday. Although the thirty-seven year old prefers to believe it's an unfortunate coincidence, the superstition has left him cautious about entering into any relationship that could result in a widow or fatherless children.
But dismissing her illogical question becomes more difficult when a group of construction workers unearth an enormous skeleton, buried in the garden of Jack's ancestral home. Hoping to find some answers, he visits Aunt Wilhelmina (Vanessa Redgrave). Jack finds it discomforting to discover his elderly relation also thinks he has more in common with the fable than just sharing the main characters name. She urges her young nephew to find the truth, before the truth destroys him.
With some special effects from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Hallmark Entertainment skillfully mixes fantasy with reality, and magic with science in this adaptation of the original "Fee Fi Fo Fum." Although some gentler and kinder themes are presented, inclusions of suspenseful moments, depictions of giants, a battle scene, mild profanities, and an implied sexual relationship between unmarried characters may be inappropriate for the very young. Yet older children, teens and adults will find some worthwhile seeds sown amidst this engaging tall tale.
As Jack's future becomes more entangled with the past, he learns the impact of greed and dishonesty, the importance of restitution, and the rewards of placing the needs of others before selfish desires. Perhaps such ideals are just the stuff of fairytales... unless, of course, you believe in the possibility of the impossible.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story.
Wilhelmina claims that the sins of their fathers are waiting to be avenged. Do you think it is fair for someone to be held accountable for something that happened in someone else’s past? Can you think of any real life instances when a parent’s misconduct has caused ill consequences for their children or grandchildren? Can the reverse be true? If so, what obligation does that place on the choices you make each day?
Many of the members of Jack’s clan lived with secrets. How did their decision to keep them affect their lives? What was the motivation for their lies? Did any of them benefit from their dishonesty?