Thu 14 May 2015, 12:21
Will you enjoy Into The Woods? Read the review to find out.
If there’s one thing that the trailer for Into The Woods manages to do very well – it’s hiding the fact that this movie is a musical.
Not being of the theatre-going type, you’ll forgive me for not knowing that Into the Woods is actually based on a very popular stage production that graced stages on Broadway and London’s West End.
Into the Woods brings many of the fairy tales we know and love into a single inter-woven story where the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack (the beanstalk guy) and Rapunzel are all just smaller parts of a larger story, involving a witch and a couple (the Baker and his wife) who desperately want to have a child.
Like Wicked, Into the Woods is a completely different take on a classic story, but one that’s equally compelling as the first time your parents told you about Little Red Riding Hood or Jack and the Beanstalk.
I’ll be the first to admit that I try and avoid musicals wherever possible. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with musicals, I happen to be a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop of Horrors, but it did come as a surprise that Into the Woods is more “musical” than your average musical.
By that I mean, like an Anglican High Mass on a Sunday morning, it’s almost completely sung from beginning to end, which I’m sure fans of musicals will adore.
It helps that there’s some serious singing talent being employed in this movie too, talent that can actually sing.
We’ve got Cinderella, played by Anna Kendrick (from Pitch Perfect), Meryl Streep as the witch, Johnny Depp playing an especially creepy Big Bad Wolf, Chris Pine as Prince Charming, Emily Blunt playing the Baker’s Wife, and Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s wicked step mother.
Having taken part in my fair share of musical theatre in the past (yes, high school drama does count!) I can tell you that being able to sing AND act is incredibly difficult - and especially in this case where the subject matter is dripping with flamboyance.
It’s rare for a Hollywood actor to make the transition to Broadway musical and vice versa, so being able to merge the two and pull it off so effortlessly is a real achievement for this cast. But then again, with Rob Marshall (who also directed Chicago) at the helm, there really shouldn’t have been any doubt.
It’s rare that a musical grabs my attention in the same way Into the Woods did. At first I fell to the floor asking myself why I had agreed to review a MUSICAL. But 15-mintues in… I was captivated. It’s a magical adventure with characters that you THOUGHT you knew, but surprises around nearly every corner will keep you wanting more.
It certainly didn’t feel like two hours had passed when the end credits started to roll and even though I’m not the theatre-going type, I can now certainly see the appeal of major Broadway and West End productions.
I can confidently say – street cred in-tact – that this is a great movie for the whole family.
If you love musical theatre, it’s right up your alley. And if you’re parents of younger kids (six years and up I’d say) and looking for fun, wholesome family entertainment (as only Disney can deliver), make sure you rent this movie on BoxOffice.