Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Chris Pine
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Into the Woods…. because that’s where a good fairy tale takes place. From Rapunzel’s tower hidden in the woods to Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house occupying space there. The woods are generally a good meeting place for many more characters because it’s big and scary where anything from wolves to giants could pop up.
The story begins with a curse, as many fairy tales have. A Baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) are childless, and only wish to bring joy to their lives with a baby. The witch (Streep) to have cursed them asks the Baker to bring her four ingredients to create a potion that will give the couple a child. The catch? It must be done by midnight of the third day on a blue moon. If not, their opportunity will be missed for another hundred years. Their quest leads them on a desperate search into the woods.
From broadway to the movies, the director did a nice job translating Into the Woods on film. There’s a bigger set to play with and a chance to make magic come to life. The woods are a dark place and with the mist that surrounds the area, it gives an eerie feel that not all will be happily ever after. The Baker and his wife succumb to the wildness the woods project on them. Earlier in the woods they break into song about how each recognizes new, bold traits in the other. At first glance they seem happy about it but the longer they stay it risks their love for each other.
The musical element of the movie was done well. Some of the songs are catchy and would make a good soundtrack. The cast have pleasant voices to listen to. You’ll find that Daniel Huttlestone, who plays Jack in this film, was also Gavroche from Les Misérables.
The Baker and his wife, through their quest, meet other fairy tale characters like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. Each can help but at first are not willing to part with their item the Baker needs. Together they work to solve a giant problem that could threaten everyone’s happily ever after.
One problem I had with watching Into the Woods was Prince Charming (Pine) and his brother’s musical scene. They dance in a brook, splashing water, singing their sorrows about a beautiful woman in their life. What was truly “agony” to me, was when they both ripped open their shirts dramatically after kicking the water. Prince Charming and his brother just don’t do it for me, so watching this part of the movie made me want to fast-forward it.
While Into the Woods is an enjoyable movie, I struggled to finish it. Just when you think the movie might be over, a new problem awaits these happy characters. At this point, I wanted to turn off the movie because I was bored. An hour-and-a-half in, I could not see how I could sit through another thirty minutes. I did and it wasn’t so bad but my attention span was nil. I have a hard time with musicals mainly because there’s so much singing and broadway shows are usually long so what else could I expect when sitting down for this movie? Hours after it ended, I still had “Into the Woods” song stuck in my head, which made me realize I would most likely watch this movie again. It is good, but not my usual cup of tea.