(Super) Quick Reviews: Into the Woods (2014)

Genre: Fantasy/Musical

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

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One thought on “Super Quick Reviews: Into the Woods (2014)

  1. I really enjoyed Into The Woods – as a film musical with lots of big names I recognised, I thought the entire concept was really fun. The only thing that bothered me was it would suddenly jump from being a light-hearted comedy, to then some really tragic scenes. Also, did you feel that, by the wedding scene, the film was coming to a close? For me, it felt like the film was ending by that point – and then the giant subplot seemed almost tacked on the end. 🙂
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