Directed by Michael Davis
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
As you might have figured out by the title, Beanstalk is Moonbeam’s attempt at adapting the classic fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. The story is one that just about everyone is familiar with, but Beanstalk does a great job of keeping the basics and updating the story in a lot of fun and entertaining ways. Beanstalk does away with the antiquated setup of Jack trading his cow for a handful of magic beans, replacing it with a cross between Back to the Future‘s Doc Brown and the mega-hit from the year before: Jurassic Park. A cryptozoologist (played with reckless glee by Margot Kidder!) runs a dig site somewhere in the desert, and she unearths a bunch of huge beans and a giant skull. This might be the site of Jack’s original beanstalk, but other minor details later in the film suggest that Jack’s tale was merely one of a few beanstalk scalings over the years.
Anyway, Jack (J.D. Daniels) is helping his mother (Missy from Bill & Ted, Amy Stoch!) pay the overdue rent payment by taking a load of antiques to sell. A bully (Patrick Renna) starts screwing with his box of treasures, throwing one into the street. The money these antiques will bring is very important to Jack and his mother, so he runs out into the street to catch the porcelain dog before it smashes on the asphalt. He catches it, but the cryptozoologist happens to be driving by and almost hits him with her motor home. A crate full of the giant beans flies off in the ruckus, and because Jack is a scheming whiz kid always looking for his next big idea, he decides to take the crate home in hopes that it contains something valuable or useful.
On top of this, the FX work is really well executed. This wasn’t Full Moon’s first attempt at pulling off the scale of giants and little people, as both Dollman and Dollman vs. Demonic Toys were made in the years prior to Beanstalk. The best bits come when Jack has to avoid the giant’s fist by scurrying underneath the tablecloth, and the composited scale shots are a lot of fun, too. Probably the only thing that doesn’t work perfectly is the kaiju section when the giant stomps around a miniature set, but I dig kaiju movies and miniatures so I loved it just as much as anything else in the movie. Your mileage may vary, though, but I suppose you could say that about anything, couldn’t you?
I also want to note that writer/director Michael Davis also wrote a few other Moonbeam films (the Prehysteria! films, Pet Shop, and The Incredible Genie), and would later direct such films as Eight Days a Week with Keri Russell, and Shoot ‘Em Up with Clive Owen. I found it interesting because usually I look up the directors on these films and it’s pretty rare to find anyone that went on to make big Hollywood films!
Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie it’ll be October, so I’ll be watching Song of the Vampire starring and directed by Subspecies star Denice Duff! See ya then!