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07 January 2015 @ 02:37 pm
Film Review: Into the Woods  
The film adaptation of Sondheim's musical starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Anna Kendrick.

Overall, I found the movie to be a very faithful adaptation of the musical. A few songs were cut and some were edited down but there were no major changes. As a fan of the musical, I really enjoyed watching this. I liked hearing new actors sing the songs and I liked a whole lot of the acting. However, I saw this movie with a friend who'd never seen or listened to the original musical and she felt it was a little boring in parts. And I could objectively see that. It felt very much like a movie for fans of the musical and if you weren't one before, I don't think this movie was going to wow you as it mostly played out like a camera was recording the stage musical.

But since I am a fan of the musical, I was happy to be reminded of all the various themes this musical has running in it. Being a parent, trying to protect children, falling in love, idealizations, fantasies, lust, greed, death, etc. My favorite moment which got captured really well in the film was when Cinderella and the Prince said goodbye to each other. I always liked their exchange of "I'll always love the maiden who ran away from me." "And I the faraway prince." It's such a nice acknowledgement of fantasy versus reality and I was pleased this remained in the film. One random thing that did get altered was that Rapunzel doesn't get killed. She leaves with her prince in second half and we just never hear about her again. I was mixed about this change since the death of Rapunzel, I thought, motivated a lot of the Witch's choices toward the end and sent a rather strong message about being overprotective to the point of being overbearing as a parent. But maybe Disney wanted to spare someone since everyone else on the death list did get killed.

I am always pleasantly surprised when I discover actors can sing. I knew Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, and James Corden would probably be alright but I was happy to find that Emily Blunt and Chris Pine and Billy Magnusson could also hold their own. Especially Magnusson! I almost wanted Rapunzel's prince to have more singing parts thanks to his side of the "Agony" duet. And I was grateful that the movie found two actual children who could sing to play Red Riding Hood and Jack. Johnny Depp was probably the weakest in terms of singing but he more than made up for it with his acting as the Wolf. Just the perfect amount of humor and creepiness. Right down to his jacket full of candy.

Acting-wise I thought everyone was very well cast. I'd mentioned before when I posted about the trailer that I thought Chris Pine was an inspired choice for Cinderella's charming, yet douchey prince. And I was right. I loved the hair they gave him. It was such perfect swoopy, ridiculous prince hair. Perhaps it was the appropriate overacting Pine went for but I felt like he channeled more of William Shatner for this role than as Captain Kirk. He even sounded a little like him when singing which I found weird in a delightful kind of way.

I think fans of the musical will like that we now have a film we can watch over and over again if we so wish whenever we get into the Sondheim-y mood. For people who aren't fans or haters, I'll quote my friend who saw it with me, "Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours."
tommycruisestommy50702 on January 19th, 2015 07:15 am (UTC)
This movie was not what I expected. It was NOT for kids at all. This movie was about pedophiles, cheats, thieves, and all around bad manners! I guess Disney forgot to add drug abuse in the mix. Come on Disney…where are all the drugs? How could you have forgotten those? You seemed to get all the others but no drugs, or maybe this was one big bad trip into the woods!?