Into The Woods has been playing in theaters for three weeks. However, it is so popular that the showings have been sold out and today is the first day we were able to get tickets. It turned out that Into The Woods was worth the wait.
It is a movie adaptation of a Broadway musical and combines a number of well known fairy tales into a single story. The film intertwines the tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and Beanstalk, as well as throwing in a witch and her evil spells.
There is a baker and his wife who cannot have a child due to an old curse. The Witch (excellently played by Meryl Streep) tells them that the curse can be removed but she needs certain items to make a magic potion. This is a clever plot device which sends them into the woods and brings them into contact with all the fairy-tale characters, since each one has an object they need. (By the way, in case you did not know, Meryl is from just around the corner in Bernardsville New Jersey, and went to Bernardsville High School)
This is a fun movie that both children and adults will love. It is a long film, being almost two hours. This is due partially to the fact that just when you think a tale is resolved, there is a plot twist to make it a little different than the original story.
Be warned that it is a musical, and some viewers are not big fans of musicals. The story is told mostly through songs and the characters are singing for about 90% of the film. This takes a bit of getting used to for the first few minutes of the film but then it comes to seem perfectly natural.
The movie has an all star cast and it is fun to see which well-known stars have good voices and which to not. Anna Kendrick (known for her role in Up In The Air) plays Cinderella and has a wonderful singing voice, as does Meryl Streep.
The only role which is a little disappointing is that of Johnny Depp, who plays the Big Bad Wolf. His singing voice leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, the words of his song are a little disturbing. He sings a song to Little Red Riding Hood (excellently played by Lilla Crawford). In the play, Little Red Riding Hood is portrayed by a woman in her twenties. The wolf’s song has a lot of sexual innuendos where it is obvious that the wolf is interested in her body for more than just food. In the Broadway musical the song seemed funny, but in the movie, the wolf is singing it to a little girl; which just seems creepy. He comes across more like a pedophile than a wolf.
Rapuzel is played by the beautiful MacKenzie Mauzy. In this version of the story, the witch has locked her away in the tower not as punishment, but to protect her from the evils and dangers of the world. Of course, she falls in love with a young prince, and wants to go out and experience life, even if it means facing danger. Rapunzel and the Witch sing what is the most beautiful song in the movie. It has the age-old theme of a young woman’s desire to live her own life, versus a mother’s wish to protect her.
This is a fun film that you will enjoy.
We rate this movie four stars ****