(Super) Quick Reviews: Into the Woods (2014)
Based On: Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine
Director: Rob Marshall
Screenplay by: James Lapine
Cinematographer: Dion Smith
Composer: Stephen Sondheim
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp
Synopsis: When a witch reveals she placed a baby-preventing curse on the household of The Baker and His Wife, she gives them a chance to have the spell removed. As they set off to find the Cow as White as Milk, The Cape as Red as Blood, The Hair as Yellow as Corn and the Slipper as Pure as Gold before the blue moon, they stumble across other fairy-tale characters in the middle of their own adventures. Inadvertently, each and every one of them find their stories intertwining, with the Woods as the stage.
I’ve never seen the original staged-musical, but even then, I still can’t help but think that the plot is rather squished into a feature film format. There were some scenes which were obviously rushed for time and the plot sometimes leaves some blaring holes. Other than that, there’s certainly nothing to dislike about it. The casting was well executed (Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp in particular), allowing for fresh and fun performances throughout. I particularly enjoyed the cinematography, not a single boring shot in the entire film. It couldn’t have been easy to work with such earth-oriented settings, but the warmth and coldness of the forest was portrayed rather well.
Highlight: ‘On the Steps of the Palace’ had a wonderful concept behind it, with Anna Kendrick as Cinderella contemplating what she really wanted while time simply stops. Wouldn’t we all like time to pause for a moment when we have important decisions to make? It’s a great idea and a huge pleasure to watch.
Lowlight: While I realise they were going for perception-through-obscurity, it was a shame they didn’t give Frances de la Tour more screentime as the Giant.
The music was masterfully performed and the songs themselves were fun, but I couldn’t call it my favourite musical. A solid effort in any case.
3/5 Golden Slippers