With the awards season over and movie fans on the hunt for something fresh for 2013, Universal has got the ball rolling with 'Jack The Giant Slayer,' a fantasy epic about an ancient war reignited when a young farmhand accidentally opens a gateway between his world, and a fearsome race of giants. As the monsters run riot, young Jack - played by Nicholas Hoult - is forced to battle to stop them. 

Production on the movie has a long history, dating back to January 2009 when Universal hired D.J Caruso to direct. By the end of August that year, Caruso was replaced by Bryan Singer and principal photography began in April 2011 in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Norfolk, in England. Now, the release is finally upon us and critical reception has been mostly positive. Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter was perhaps the most effusive in his praise of 'Giant Slayer,' saying, "Simply in terms of efficient storytelling, clear logistics and consistent viewer engagement, Jack is markedly superior to the recent "Hobbit."

Scott Foundas of the Village Voice heaped praise of director Singer, suggesting he "evokes another era of fantasy filmmaking when the illusions before our eyes were created in an artist's studio rather than a computer lab. It's more Jason and the Argonauts than Shia and the Transformers." Julian Roman aired on the side of caution, though agreed there's plenty for the young family audiences, "The CGI effects and tepid intro will probably bore older viewers, but if you let yourself get into the story, then you're in for a decent time."

British star Hoult recently spoke of working with director Singer, "Brian's very intelligent, and you can tell that just by watching him work. He can sit in front of 8 monitors and pick out everything he wants, he's so switched onto what he needs to tell the story from each scene, from the characters, from your performance, whatever it may be," he told Flicks and Bits.com.

'Jack The Giant Slayer,' also starring Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci, hits cinemas in U.S. on Friday (1 March 2013).