Into the Woods is a combination of multiple Brothers Grimm fairy tales including “Little Red Ridding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella,” and “Rapunzel.” The stories all overlap in the midst of a dark and mysterious woods where a humble baker and his wife search for items that will help break a curse put on their family by a witch. The film is an adaptation of a broadway musical by the same title.
First of all, I have to take a moment to discuss the casting of this movie, because it was beautiful. Many famous actors and actresses were considered for the various roles, but I personally think it could not have gone better with any other actors. The always incredible Meryl Streep had me so lost in the witch character that I had to convince myself it was her underneath all of that make-up. Emily Blunt spent the entire film pregnant while portraying a woman who couldn’t have children, Lilla Crawford as “Little Red Riding Hood” and Daniel Huttlestone blew me away with their voices and acting, and Chris Pine as a singing Prince? Stop my beating heart, I didn’t think he could get any more beautiful. Not to mention the ever intriguing Johnny Depp as the big bad wolf. How that man can take on so many freaky and weird characters and still be so lovable is completely beyond me. I personally wasn’t so sure I could take Anna Kendrick seriously as Cinderella, but she did justice to the role. James Corden played the cutest baker, Tracey Ullman was a lovely bedraggled mother for Jack, Mackenzie Mauzy was not on my radar prior to this film, but I loved her as Rapunzel, and of course, her prince Billy Magnussen another unfamiliar but pleasing face. The last cast member I’d like to tip my hat to would be Lucy Punch, because that girl is so good at being an evil stepsister, she had to do it twice.
Since the script is based on the original Brothers Grimm tales… the whole thing was a little less than Disney. Johnny Depp’s wolf song is extremely pedophiliac but the director thought that if they glazed over the creepy connotations children would miss the creepiness completely. Sounds to me like Disney is setting up to be accused some more of teaching inappropriate things to children.
Although I did appreciate (SPOILER ALERT) that when Prince Charming was cheating on Cinderella he said, “I was taught to be charming, not sincere.” Proving again that marrying someone you just met might not be the greatest choice a person could make. After all the “Happily Ever After’s” were realized, things fell apart, which is sad… but much more realistic. Things ended up just how they were meant to, horrifically. That’s what Brothers Grimm stories are, and I personally am glad Disney finally stuck to that even though the whole thing was basically word for word exactly the same as the original play.
Overall it was a pretty great movie, I would definitely recommend it, especially if you’re someone who is into musical plays. I could see it all happening onstage even though it wasn’t which could be a pro or a con depending on your taste. The biggest complaint I’ve heard of this movie was from people who did not know of the play previously. They were disappointed in the film, simply for the aforementioned “unDisneyness” of it, but now you know and won’t have those kinds of expectations going in… Into the woods. 😉