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Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001)

aka Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story

"This Time...It's No Fairy Tale."

Directed By: 
Details: 177 mins · English


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Small Jack Robinson
Small Ondine
Small Countess Wilhelmina, Matriarch / Narrator
Small Thespee, Member Great Council of Mac Slec
Small Sigfried 'Siggy' Mannheim
Small Magog, Arbiter of Justice Great Council of Mac Slec
Small Thunderdell
Small Odin, Member of Great Council of Mac Slec
Small Jules, Jack's Secretary
Small Thespee
Small Harmonia


No_movie_poster Brian Henson Director
No_movie_poster James V. Hart Writer
Small Bill Barretta Writer
No_movie_poster Brian Henson Writer


"This Time...It's No Fairy Tale."


Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine) is the rich CEO of a large company. Throughout his family's past, no Robinson male has lived to be over 40, and Jack keeps having a dream about his father and an angry giant. He tries very hard to stay healthy with the help of his Albanian butler, Dussan (Jonathan Hyde). The man who manages his business affairs, Siegfried "Siggy" Mannheim (Jon Voight), convinces him to turn down a project involving alternative food supplies of genetically-engineered plants to feed the Third World, and also to build a casino complex in a small town to which the locals greatly object.

During construction, the workers discover the skeleton of a giant. A strange young woman called Ondine (Mia Sara) then appears and accuses Jack of being "a thief and a murderer" before vanishing in a flash of light. That night, a man sneaks into Jack's house and takes him to see an old woman whom Jack recognizes as a great-aunt who he believed was dead. The old woman tells him the traditional version of the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk" in which the giant is portrayed as a selfish, gluttonous brute who cared for nothing and no one, subsequently giving him the last magic bean (the original Jack was given five beans but only four grew into the beanstalk, the fifth one landing on rock instead of earth), suggesting that the tale that she has told him may not be the truth, and that the answers he seeks about recent events may be found at the other end of the beanstalk.

Jack plants the bean in the forest near the location where the giant was discovered, and the bean grows into a huge beanstalk leading Jack into the world of the giants, a magical world where a single day passes for every year that passes on the ground below. Jack is left stranded in the giant world after the beanstalk dissolves, apparently cut down by someone back on Earth, and discovers that the giant Thunderdell (Bill Barretta) was an extremely benevolent person: kind, honest, and a loving friend and father who had also adopted Ondine and raised her as his own daughter. The protagonist of this film is portrayed as being "the fifteenth descendent of" the original Jack. In 1611, Jack obtained the beans, climbed the beanstalk, only to betray Thunderdell and Ondine's trust by stealing the singing Harp of Harmony and the golden Goose of Prosperity, and his mother killed Thunderdell. Jack's descendents grew rich, at the "truly horrible" cost of Thunderdell's world being subjected to a curse where "no crops will grow; we will never see spring again" as the giant world slowly dies over time. Only with the death of the Robinson family would the magic be restored, hence the Robinson family curse. Despite her doubts about Jack after what happened when she fell for his ancestor - due to the different flow of time between the worlds only around one year has passed in the Land of the Giants as opposed to centuries here - Ondine recognizes that Jack is not the man his ancestor was (all the other giants are aware of this, but they still want to kill him as only his death can break their curse), and transports him back to Earth to help her find the "sacred treasures."

During their search, Jack learns that his 'great-aunt' Wilhelmina is hiding several secrets. "The poor, misguided boy who climbed the beanstalk in 1611 was my son. My crime was perhaps the greatest of them all," she tells the pair, and this immoral act is revealed to be her murder of Thunderdell, whom her son didn't want to kill with the giant having fallen many stories and suffering massive internal injuries and broken bones: "No, Mother. Not like this." Wilhelmina relates how the Robinson Curse "has many ugly tentacles. My curse was to see my son die before his time, and his son, and his son. One after another, they died . . . and I am alive."

Jack's manager is also revealed to have known the truth all along and was entrusted to tell Jack when "he was ready" by Jack's father but instead encouraged Jack to care about nothing but his work and never marry so that when he died, Siggy would inherit the company. He also admits to having cut down the beanstalk and leaving Jack stranded in the giant world. Siggy tries to kill Jack and Ondine, but some of the giants suddenly intervene- having teleported down from their kingdom, although the differing time flow means that what took them a few minutes took a few hours back on Earth- and knock him out.

With the return of the Goose and Harp, the Giants' world is restored, and the Giants thank Jack for undoing his ancestors' mistakes. After returning to his world, Jack saves the company's reputation by supporting the project of genetically-engineered plants that he previously rejected (after having discovered its effects during his stay in the Giants' prison), while Siggy is revealed in a newspaper headline to have been committed into an insane asylum due to the public's belief that he has gone insane for claiming that he is being hunted by giants. Finally, due to the curse being lifted, Wilhelmina Robinson (Siggy mentioned she's 450) dies peacefully, with Jack and Dussan by her side.

At the end of the film, Ondine requests Jack to stay in her world which Jack finally refuses as he says he has to "right the wrong" many things in his world. After the arrival of Jack to his own world he realizes that he truly loved Ondine (and she too) and decides to spend his money for the well being of children and the starving nations being the chairman of Robinson International (which is a business with 200 billion capital by this time). After three months (six giant hours) Ondine returns to Jack, where she is allowed to spend one Giant week (seven years in our world) with him, and its hinted that at the end of this time, they may have children (as Jack says, "a bunch of ho ho ho little Robinsons") accompanying them back.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2002-02-05