Movie Review – ‘Into the Woods’


Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

So, this is a musical film that I saw on Disney+ last Friday. Apparently, ‘Into the Woods’ was released at cinemas in December 2014 and is based on the 1986 Broadway musical of the same name. I of course knew nothing about the stage musical and wasn’t aware the film was released in late 2014. 😐

When the film was released in 2014, it received generally positive reviews, praising the performances of the actors, the film’s visual style, its production merits and the musical numbers. I agree; the film deserves merit in terms of being creative, especially in its tone and style as a musical.

With that said, I can’t say I’ve been enamoured with ‘Into the Woods’. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I did. It’s just something about the film doesn’t quite work for me. Maybe it’s because it’s all over the place. Not just in the shifting light and dark tones, but also for the many characters featured in it.

Essentially, ‘Into the Woods’ is a fairy tale kind of story, inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and ‘Rapunzel’. It also features characters from those tales. That’s fine as an idea, but the execution of it in the film is unsatisfying. 😦

The film focuses on a childless couple – a Baker and his wife. They set out on a quest to end a curse placed on them by a vengeful witch. They have to collect certain items from the fairy tale characters to end the curse. Soon, they are forced to experience the unintended consequences of their actions.

Now the idea of a quest involving fairy tale characters to end a witch’s curse so that a Baker and his wife can have a baby is fine. There’s even a moment where the film seems to have a ‘happily ever after’ ending. But this is turned over when the characters end up having to deal with another threat.

The film also ends on a bit of a depressing note where the Baker’s wife is killed off and the Baker has to look after their new-born child without her. There are occasions where ‘Into the Woods’ is trying to be ‘Les Misérables’. You can either view this as a good thing or a bad thing in watching the film. 😐

I’m not sure if ‘Into the Woods’ was trying to emulate ‘Les Misérables’, but that was the inspiration I was getting from watching the film. With all of these things said, I did enjoy the performances of the cast. It was funny to spot familiar faces that I’d seen in other film and TV productions over the years.

Meryl Streep (who I’ve seen in ‘Suffragette’, the two ‘Mamma Mia’ films and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’) plays the Witch in the film. Meryl Streep’s performance as the Witch is well-praised by the critics who saw the film in 2014. Not sure I fully understand what the Witch’s motives are in the film.

James Corden (who I’ve seen in two ‘Doctor Who’ episodes and heard in the two ‘Peter Rabbit’ films) plays the Baker and Emily Blunt (who I’ve seen in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and ‘Jungle Cruise’) plays the Baker’s wife. I’m surprised the Baker and his wife aren’t given names throughout the film. 😐

There’s Anna Kendrick (who I’ve seen in ‘Noelle’) as Cinderella, Chris Pine (who I’ve seen in the Star Trek’ reboot trilogy and the ‘Wonder Woman’ films) as Cinderella’s prince, Daniel Huttlestone as Jack, Tracey Ullman as Jack’s mother and there’s Christine Barankski playing Cinderella’s stepmother.

Johnny Depp (who doesn’t get enough screen-time in the film) plays the Big Bad Wolf, Lilla Crawford plays Little Red Riding Hood, MacKenzie Mauzy is Rapunzel, Billy Magnussen is Rapunzel’s prince, Tammy Blanchard is Florinda, Lucy Punch is Lucinda and Frances de la Tour plays the Giant’s wife. 😀

There’s also Richard Glover as the Steward, Joanna Riding as Cinderella’s mother, Annette Crosbie as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, Simon Russell Beale as the Baker’s father and Molly…or is it Tug (I think she’s the cow in this film) as Milky-White. Wow! Cows can have recognition in movies these days! 😀

Overall, ‘Into the Woods’ has been an enjoyable, insightful if unsatisfying film to check out on Disney+. I can’t judge the film as an adaptation of the stage musical (though I imagine it ended the same way as the film did), but ‘Into the Woods’ wasn’t as happy and reassuring as I expected it to be.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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