Since the 1990s, stars have been lining up for potential film adaptations of Into the Woods, from Robin Williams to Meg Ryan. Walt Disney’s musical adaptation of the Broadway show was a success of epic proportions, netting two hundred million dollars worldwide and garnering three Academy Award nominations (Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design). Director Rob Marshall (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Chicago) no doubt succeeded with James Lapine’s film adaptation of his own Broadway play, thanks to the host of actors and actresses who filled out the roster, including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman, and James Corden. But there is plenty of magic to go around in this fairy tale twist of mythical proportions.
A Baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) are cursed with barrenness by the Witch (Streep), for crimes the Baker’s father committed. The couple will come in contact with various characters from our fairy tale memories like Jack of the Beanstalk fame (Daniel Huttlestone), Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), the Big Bad Wolf (Depp), Cinderella (Kendrick), an Evil Stepmother (and the Prince (Pine), as well as ones we haven’t, like Jack’s mother (Ullman), the Giant’s wife (Frances del la Tour).
It’s a singing fairytale kind of movie that surrounds the desires of the hearts of the Witch, the Baker, and the Baker’s Wife, and entertains us as they travel this moral road less travelled. In the process of pursuing their dreams, the characters all squabble with each other, and ultimately work together by default when faced with the Giant’s wife. Sadly though, even some of the characters we think we should like pay the ultimate price.
I’m never much one for singing and movies, but the sets and special effects were spectacularly epic. And Streep is awesome as the Witch. Fans will enjoy the Sondheim Original “She’ll Be Back” performed by Streep, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into how they made the woods, got the cast, etc. Oh, and you skip all of the talking points and use the feature to jump straight to the songs you like. For a non-musical rube like me, it’s a ratings: borrow it but for everyone else, I imagine it’s a gotta have it!