I saw Into the Woods about a week ago and I’m still rather obsessed with it. I originally saw the musical at my brother’s college a couple years ago. Back then, I throughly enjoyed the story and the songs, and I’m not really a big musical lover (which is odd because I love music and I love movies, but apparently not together). When Disney turned it into a movie, I was excited to see it, especially because it stars Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick.
Into the Woods basically combines many of those childhood stories we grew up hearing, like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, Cinderella, etc. Each of them have a reason to go to the woods – Little Red Riding Hood is visiting her grandmother, Cinderella is going to the Prince’s festival, Jack is selling his cow – and they run into each other. The plot is driven because a Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are sent into the woods to get items for the Witch (Meryl Streep) so she’ll remove a curse off them.
The whole cast did a fantastic job. I was especially impressed by Anna Kendrick (Cinderella) who hit incredibly high notes and sang this difficult rhythm in the opening number. I knew Anna Kendrick had a great voice from Pitch Perfect, but seeing and hearing her in Into the Woods blew my mind and proved that she really can do anything.
I also liked how they chronicled each character and showed how they interacted with each other. In the beginning, the characters seemed to be in separate stories, like we’re familiar with. We watch Cinderella with her evil stepmother, Red Riding Hood skipping through the woods to visit her grandmother, Jack and his mother, and they don’t intersect with each other. Then, they end up running into each other and having to come together and save the whole village. It was a well developed story.
I do warn you that if you watch this film you will get the music stuck in your head, especially the theme song. This whole week I’ve been going around singing in my head “into the woods, into the woods, into woods” (if you know the song, you know what I’m talking about). I also felt the movie ran rather long. I saw an interview with Meryl Streep where she said most productions of Into the Woods only perform half of the story, and the film did the entirety of it. I totally got that because I was familiar with the first half from seeing the musical live, but the end was very different than what I thought or expected. And because of I that, I was just waiting for the movie to end about half way through, but it kept going. I think if you’re unfamiliar with the abridged production, the movie won’t have that effect. Regardless, if you’re looking for an entertaining, musical, funny, adventurous, family-friendly film, Into the Woods is definitely worth the watch.
Here’s a clip from the film that showcases just how catchy the music is: