RATED: PG (thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material)
NOT IN RPX
NOT IN 3D
Into The Woods is an example of something that could have been great, but failed to be so somewhere along the way. The film had several elements that could have led to greatness, it had an outstanding cast with stars such as Meryl Streep as the Witch, Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife, James Corden as the Baker, Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Johnny Depp as the Wolf and even more stars. The film also had a unique premise, which was mashing together several Brothers Grimm tales, but at times even the smart premise made the film feel sloppy and tangled. The all-star cast also delivered, especially Emily Blunt. Meryl Streep was excellent, Corden was great, Pine was hilarious, and the rest of the cast did an outstanding job as well. So, you’re probably wondering, “Why did it fall apart?” and I believe that the answer to that question is Rob Marshall’s direction, especially in the ending. Walking in I had read some reviews and I knew that nobody could appreciate the ending, some described it as uncharacteristically dark for Disney, but I didn’t find it to be so. However, I did find it to be the most rushed and poorly thought out ending to any film I’ve seen in a long time. The ending just happened in the blink of an eye, even though it was foreshadowed early on. The foreshadowing was an example of Marshall’s poor direction, because it made the ending too obvious, and although the end was predictable, it still had me wondering “What were the writer and director thinking?” The film also felt incredibly long, I recall checking my watch and sighing because the film was only half way over, that’s a bad sign. The film also took ridiculous parts from the Brothers Grimm tales and used them for what I hope was poorly done satire on the stories, it certainly didn’t feel that way though. I understand that those odd parts were in the Broadway version, but Marshall could’ve taken some creative liberties, it wouldn’t be a big deal if he used his own ideas for the film. Now, most of you are probably wondering how the music was. The music was about as good as the film, at times it was catchy and fun, but at other times it felt out of place or just annoyingly bad. I also had trouble liking the characters, while well acted, they felt one sided and underdeveloped, the film even changed them completely to further the script and blamed their absurd behavior on The Woods. That would’ve worked had the film actually mentioned the fact that The Woods have some sort of supernatural power, it was only mentioned when crazy things were happening, but in phrases such as, “Its The Woods, that’s why we’re this way!” it truly is a bummer, since that could have been such a successful idea. One thing Into The Woods does right is humor, the film is funny when it tries to be, I even laughed out loud at some points. Particularly one musical number with Pine’s prince and the Other Prince (actually the character’s name) had me laughing. Overall, Into The Woods is an ok family musical blockbuster with outstanding performances, but poor direction and writing. It might have been better if Into The Woods had just stayed on Broadway, but the film did have its moments.
Into The Woods is playing in theaters nationwide and has been out since December 25.