A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, and Chris Pine
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Written by: James Lapine (screenplay), and James Lapine (musical)
"Into the Woods" is a movie that doesn't want the audience to ever forget its name. The opening scene mentions "Into the Woods" probably more than two dozen times. It doesn't end there, it continues throughout the movie as characters are constantly reminded about the woods, the danger of going to, or the danger of being in the woods. This is one of several things that stand out about "Into the Woods."
Obviously the biggest thing that stands out is that this is a musical. The audience gets a big dose of this right off the bat. After that opening scene, the audience might have thought the whole movie was going to be singing, but it's not. They mix up musical numbers with regular dialogue, however there’s no rhythm to it. Just when it appears they will be singing the entire time, it moves to heavy on the dialogue. Then just as audience forgets that it's a musical, the singing begins again.
Another thing that stands out is how well they weave the tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel together. This couldn't have been an easy task because each story is very different. They cleverly do this by focusing the story on a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), and working in the tales around them. Basically the couple has tried to have a child, but unknown to them can't because of a witch's curse. Of course there has to be a witch (Meryl Streep) involved. The witch tells them about the curse, and sets them off on a mission to gather four items, one from each tale she needs in order to reverse the curse.
Another good thing about the story is how they lead everything up to what's suppose to be the happy ending, and then bring in a darker final scene. The movie really could have ended sooner, but if the audience is paying attention to the tales, they will know where the story is going. Without giving it away, lets just say certain characters develop a wondering eye, a life is taken, and the woods may never be the same.
Even though this is partially a musical, there are plenty of hilarious moments. The couple provides many of the moments early on as they try to collect the items. The characters from the tales bring their own humor, particularly Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) and the Wolf (Johnny Depp), and the two Princes (Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen). While the Princes have their looks, they aren't portrayed as the sharpest tools in the shed. They provide the funniest musical number, as they sing about the women they’re in love with on top of a waterfall.
There are several things that standout about "Into the Woods." With a strong cast, the acting and singing is on point. They do an excellent job of bringing back classic tales, and incorporating them into a new story. While they did a good job of mixing the tales together, they could’ve done a better job of mixing the music with the dialogue. The story does have a little bit of everything including drama, comedy, and even a darker final act. With that said, I give this movie 3 pools of blood.