A Review: Into the Woods

Written By: Maddy C

 Director: Rob Marshall

Writers: James Lapine (Screenplay)

 Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy and Johnny Depp

The Verdict: 3.5/5

 “ “Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them.” – (C) Disney

Once again we have found ourselves watching a screen adaptation of a stage production in movie theatres across the country. The beloved Broadway musical “Into the Woods” hits the big screen with enticing musical numbers and a magic touch of Disney. With a very talented cast of actors, Stephen Sondheim’s classics were brought to life in a live-action rendition. This Golden Globe nominated film has added yet another blockbuster to Disney’s collection.

The Baker (James Corden) and The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt) meet The Witch (Meryl Streep).
The Baker (James Corden) and The Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt) meet The Witch (Meryl Streep).

As someone who had never seen the original stage version, I didn’t have many high expectations going into the theatre. With a bag of popcorn and a drink at hand, the music had begun and I was thrown back into my childhood. Seeing all of my favourite fairytales intertwine was quite the treat. The main premise of this two hour movie was the idea of “What happens after you have your happy every after?” The witch (Meryl Streep) sends the baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt) off on a hunt for four items that would break the spell allowing the wife to have a child. Within the first hour, you meet all the characters and witness the happy endings that we all know and love. During the second, we see the consequences of the actions that caused their happy endings in the first place.

Pitch Perfect's Anna Kendrick as Cinderella.
Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick as Cinderella.

Now, lets put the story aside. How was the singing? The singing was bearable. Compared to other screen adaptions like Les Miserables (2012) the cast, as a whole was much better. This wasn’t the first time that some of the cast have done musical films. Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Daniel Huttlestone are just some of the actors who have had experience with this type of performance. Like many musicals, the majority of the songs are based off of the same general tone. A good thing about this particular film adaptation is that there is a balanced amount of singing and actual talking. Unlike Les Miserables, which was like a two-hour song, lines were written in that supported the music nicely. James Corden’s (The Baker) comedic background showed through in his performance, which was great to see. He added some comedic relief when things were getting slow. I felt like we didn’t see enough of the whole Rapunzel  storyline. It was a really intriguing one, and it would have been interesting to see her character amongst the others.

With the Oscars approaching in a couple of weeks, Into the Woods has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards for; Costume Design, Production Design and of course Meryl Streep for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. This is the actress’ 19th Oscar nomination. Into the Woods had a mix of everything from humour to very emotional moments. This is definitely a film that everyone can enjoy, well, if you don’t like singing than maybe this one isn’t for you. But besides that, Disney hit the spot for this fantasy-musical.