Into the Woods

by | Jan 11, 2015 | 0 comments

A Film that is Ruined By An Elongated Ending

There is a difference between an opera and a musical. A musical has intermittent songs, and an opera has intermittent dialogue. Into the Woods seemed to not know the difference, it called itself a musical, but it had scarce dialogue. While this could have easily been ignored, the identical songs and music caused for the “musical” to be droning. I only managed to distinguish two songs from the rest. As for the story, it was all fine and enjoyable until the final act, which seemed as if the studio had forced Stephen Sondheim, writer of the original musical for Broadway, to add a final act to his “musical” causing the ending to seem forced, lazy, and rushed.

Into the Woods mixes many of the classic fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood (first timer Lilla Crawford) and the wolf (Johnny Depp), Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and her prince (Chris Pine), Jack (Les Miserables’ Daniel Huttlestone) and the beanstalk, and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). All the fairy tales are stringed together when a baker (Begin Again’s James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are tasked to get an item from each of these famous characters in order to lift a curse on them that a witch (Meryl Streep) created, preventing them from having children.

All the technical aspects are thrilling, from the set and costumes to the makeup and even the CGI. In fact the editing was incredibly astounding in the first 20 minutes with fast, fluid, and dizzying cuts that made one admire the freedom in cinema. However, as time went on the creativity faded and the editing ended up being much more straightforward and conventional, something that disappointed me a little.

The acting is notable too. James Corden is finally given his big break after he bursts in his role in Begin Again. He is pushed to his limits acting and singing, but even so he is able to excel in both. Meanwhile Meryl Streep surprises us again, you’d think we’d be used to it after 18 Oscar nominations (including three wins). Streep actually plays her first witch in Into the Woods, and her singing capabilities shown in Mama Mia! are elevated as she showers us with an outstanding voice and performance. As for Emily Blunt, she also shines by being one of the few that takes her role seriously, unlike Chris Pine who sought to survive his role through humor. Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp have roles a little too small to properly analyze them, but even so they seemed to be having fun.

The problem with the film was its conclusion. About three fourths of the way into the film it seems to all be wrapping up perfectly and enjoyably, but the film seeks to overly exert its originality and in doing so it bores and drags its audience to the finish line. The film’s last quarter ends up being eternal and with uninteresting twists. Such a shame that such an original idea could be marred with a simple 25% of the film.

The film starts off with much energy and promise, but as time goes by one can almost see that the actors, editors, and even director wanted to just get the film over with and get on with something else. Too similar to what the audience feels like watching the film. 

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 68% 68%

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What is your favorite Sodenheim musical? Let me know in the comments section.

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