Broadway classic goes Into The Woods, onto the screen

Damsel in distress meets handsome prince. Boy goes on a dangerous adventure. Girl goes to see her grandmother despite the dangers around her. Those are classic fairytales; but every once-in-a-while, a story strays off the beaten path. The stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood are brought together through the telling of the story of the Baker, his wife, and the Witch of the film, Into The Woods.

Into The Woods was originally produced as a broadway musical in 1987. The 2014 Disney film adaption entered theaters with high expectations, and met critical standards with a fine balance of Hollywood and Broadway, along with great acting.

This film follows the stories of four different class fairytales, and connects the four stories cohesively through group songs and the connecting story of the Baker (James Corden), His Wife (Emily Blunt), and the Witch (Meryl Streep). The movie kicks off with the narrator bringing the audience into the lives of the cast of characters, and goes deeper into Cinderella’s story.  As she begins to sing the song, “I Wish”, the other stories’ wishes are brought into greater detail in the song. Cinderella wishes to go to the King’s festival to meet her Prince Charming, Jack wishes not to have to sell his only friend, Milky White (the cow), Red Riding Hood wishes to get a loaf of bread for her grandmother, and the Baker and his Wife wish to have a child.

Soon after, the Witch swoops into the bakery with a big crazy wind, informing the Baker that there is a way for his wife and him to have a child, and sends them on their journey into the woods along with the rest of the wishful cast, all going on their own separate adventures.

The soundtrack of Into The Woods is amusing and well done, with songs such as “Agony”, sung by Cinderella’s prince (Chris Pine) and his brother, Rapunzel’s prince (Billy Magnussen), and the song “Hello, Little Girl”, sung by the Wolf (Johnny Depp) and Little Red (Lilla Crawford). There are plenty of songs throughout the film, and while some may be sub-par, the acting makes up for it. The animated performance of the actors brings in the Broadway, while still maintaining the cinematic structure. Kudos to the casting director, because the roles were filled perfectly. Streep (who vowed to never play the role of a witch, but couldn’t resist this opportunity) absolutely killed the role of the Witch, with excellent singing and execution of the lines, and Depp was a perfect fit as the Wolf. Though most of the parts were chosen well, some could have been a bit better. Anna Kendrick as the role of Cinderella was a little boring and didn’t truly deliver the role, but her singing was fine for the part. Someone such as Amanda Seyfried might have worked a little bit better for the role, because of her princess-like finesse, voice, and mostly, her blond hair.

One thing that was unexpected was the length of the film. After all that you expect to happen with the characters does, the movie packs a punch with a huge surprise that is life changing and earth-shaking to the characters and storyline and leaves the audience questioning the director.

Even though there were a few holes in the story, it doesn’t damage the well-constructed storyline of the film. All-in-all, the film was an excellent piece with great acting and entertaining music. I would give this movie a 3.5 stars of out 5, and recommend it to any musical  enthusiast.

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