A Spellbinding, Charming and Hilarious Musical for All | Review of ‘Into the Woods’

By: Cynthia Ayala

“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.

A hilarious musical with an all-star cast, this Hollywood rendition of the hit Broadway musical was done right. Combining various fairy tales to tell this story, it was funny, had tons of heart and great musical numbers.

Emily Blunt stars in this musical as the Bakers wife and wow, was she amazing. Her character is teaming up with her husband to undo the curse set upon her husband’s family. Her very emotion is there as she runs into the likes of Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack. Both witty and funny, she carries out the part perfectly. She’s hilarious in the way that she carries out her part, especially when she runs into Rapunzel, Cinderella and the Prince (Chris Pine). Those scenes are pure perfection with the way the writers and Emily decided to carry them out. Her singing aside – which was brilliant – Emily just exudes charisma and beauty in her portrayal of the Bakers wife. Moreover, combined with on screen husband James Corden, the casting found the perfect couple to make a deep connection while remaining funny throughout the drama of the film.

And let’s not forget Meryl Streep. That woman is incredible in everything that she does, and at playing the evil yet not-so-evil witch, she once again shows audiences why she has won so many Oscars. Starting out at the ugly Witch, she sets upon the couple in order to undo her own curse, one set upon on by her mother. Streep was pure enjoyment to watch, showing all the sides of the witch, the good, the bad, the ugly, the vain and the loving. Capturing all sides from all the fairy tales, she makes them work together to build her character, giving he audience a witch to sympathize with. Like Blunt, she’s funny and charismatic, right down to her musical numbers and her body language.

Now, while the entire cast was brilliant, there is another notable mention and that would be Chris Pine, as Cinderella’s Prince, who channeled his inner William Shatner do to this part. From the way he spoke to the way he acted, especially in that one sequence where he did his musical number alongside the Other Prince, he was William Shatner. It was both brilliant and creepy at the same time.

Into the Woods is an exceptional twist on the Grimm Fairy Tales and the production of the film was very well done. The writing and musical numbers were funny, well executed by the cast, and it most importantly, the story flowed. Tying these various fairy tales together is a hard task, but this writer, James Lapine, managed it so well keeping each fairy tale intact on its own fairy tale story was untarnished while pulling them all together so that all the elements flowed together.

However, there was one flaw with this film. Within the story of Little Red Riding Hood, you have Johnny Depp as the wolf. He acted out the part well, but his costume design put him very out of place. It’s understandable the kind of symbolism the design crew and direction was going for but to dress him like a gangster within a fairy tale realm felt off, it didn’t fit with everything else about the film. Other than that, it was a well-made film, funny, heartwarming and true to the essence of fairy tales and really a film made for all ages. (★★★☆ | B+)

–    Film Credits     –

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Screenplay by: James Lapine

Based on Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine

Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James CordenAnna Kendrick, Chris PineJohnny DeppTracey UllmanChristine Baranski

Genre | Rating | Length: Fantasy, Musical | PG | 2 hr. 4 min.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.