Into the Woods

into the woods
MUSICAL, FANTASY, FAMILY
2014

DIRECTOR: Rob Marshall CAST: Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Cordon, Daniel Huttlestone, Lilla Crawford, Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Johnny Depp, Frances de la Tour
AWARDS: Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (nominated), Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Emily Blunt) (nominated), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Meryl Streep) (nominated)

RATING – 8.2 out of 10

Disclaimer: This was my very first experience with Into the Woods. I have never seen a stage production of it and have, therefore, nothing to compare it to. That being said, I feel it is important to not compare film versions to their theatrical counterparts. There are things that can be executed deftly on film that cannot be done on stage, but there is also a level of intimacy that one experiences with live theatre that is missed in a cinematic experience.

  • Acting – 7 out of 10
    • One of the most difficult things to do as an actor is sing your performance. One thing that I absolutely hate when watching a musical is when the actors sing beautifully when they shouldn’t be. Yes, yes, it’s all very well that you can sing, but you shouldn’t be singing beautifully if your character shouldn’t be singing beautifully. It totally takes me out of the show. But none of that was present here. The characters who should have sang beautifully all sang beautifully, and the characters who shouldn’t have didn’t, though they were still really good.
    • The only performance that I really didn’t care for was that of, shocker, Johnny Depp. Here he is, the sleazy and hungry wolf…. as played by Captain Jack Sparrow. Something that directors often tell their actors is to move with a purpose; if you’re told to move to a different part of the stage, you need to figure out a reason why you’re going there. And of course it’s undoubtedly somewhat different with film, but there was a particular shot involving Johnny Depp where he puts his hand on a tree, and it was quite obvious that the only reason he was putting his hand on the tree like that was so that it would look really creepy and sinister. Thank god James Cordon came to my rescue and gutted him after his 7 minutes of torture screen time…
  • Writing/Dialogue – 10 out of 10
    • Completely brilliant. Absolutely loved everything about it.
  • Diversity – 5 out of 10
    • There are lots of strong female characters here, though – as is the curse with fairy tales – they suffer the curse of having to discuss their handsome princes coming to whisk them away on their white horses. Unfortunately, there are no persons of colour in this film.
  • Visual Effects – 9 out of 10
    • The visual effects were mesmerizing. There was a shot, however, where it was obvious that the cow was CGI. And maybe the only reason why it was obvious was because they used a real cow for everything else.
  • Cinematography – 10 out of 10
    • Completely perfect. It brought to life the spellbinding beauty and terrible darkness that fairy tales are.
  • Musical Score & Sound Editing – 8 out of 10
    • Except for Johnny Depp’s song, I completely loved the the music. It was so beautiful.
  • Costumes, Makeup, and Hairstylings – 8 out of 10
    • Pretty much everything counting against this film has something to do with Johnny Depp. His costume didn’t match the period. A fedora and a pinstripe suit? Really? But then, the evil stepsisters wore sunglasses at the end after they were blinded.
  • Plot/Story – 10 out of 10
    • We all know the fairy tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood. But here they are all interwoven so meticulously and perfectly. And as with any fairy tale, we have a moral to our story. And the moral here is that we should be careful what we wish for, because dreams are not always what they seem.
    • The one that stuck out the most, because it seemed to contradict what Disney has taught us with fairy tales, was the tale of Cinderella. She dreams of a life of extravagance with a handsome prince. But it turns out that her Prince Charming is nothing but a chauvinist who regards women as property and conquests, things to be wooed and charmed. And Cinderella realises that that’s not what she wants at all.
  • Time – 7 out of 10
    • As with any musical, there are scenes that are longer than they need to be. The one scene in particular that I think could have been cut out entirely was the scene were Red Riding Hood is recounting her story of being eaten by the wolf after we literally just saw it happen.
  • Grandiosity vs. Humility – 8 out of 10
    • With all musicals there’s a grandiose spectacle. But this one didn’t seem too presumptuous.
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