For your consideration: Into the Woods
Into The Woods had me looking for a break in the forest to escape to. The only things that kept me in the woods were Meryl Streep and Chris Pine. Streep, who played the old witch, seemed to be having a lot of fun with her role, and that was extremely enjoyable to watch. Pine’s snarky, over-the-top performance as Prince Charming was delightful, not to mention easy on the eyes. Perfect casting there! There were other notable performances from Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Emily Blunt as the baker’s wife, but the show felt like a Disney ride that lasted a little too long, e.g. “It’s A Small World”.
Into The Woods is a musical fantasy adapted to the screen from Stephen Sondheim’s award winning Broadway musical of the same name. The story revolves around a childless couple that set out to end the curse put on them by the village witch. The story line unfolds evenly enough until the couple accomplishes their goal. This is where the story veers into another quest, and yet another. I couldn’t help but wish I were watching Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairytales instead of this movie. At least Fractured Fairytales set the scene, characters accomplished their goal, and they all lived happily ever after, as every good fairy tale does.
I should qualify my review my stating, I generally don’t find Broadway musicals translating well to film. Chicago might be the last one that translated well. When you go to a Broadway musical, you expect the never-ending singing, but these songs fell flat with me. My ear first revolted when Little Red, played by Lilla Crawford, hit that high, Broadway-child-star pitch, which makes me cringe. After the second act, I longed for a much needed intermission.
The visuals were good, and I loved the costumes and make up—except for Johnny Depp as Mr. Wolf. His costume belonged more in a version of Cats, and his Big Bad Wolf delivery seemed a bit pervy, at best.
Into The Woods may have worked as a movie to see when you have a house full of relatives and the big meal is over, so the Christmas release date was a good idea, but I would have rather pulled out board games than sat through this one.
Rating- 3 stars, (would have been 2, but Meryl Streep raised it.)