Friday, January 02, 2015

Into the Woods | Review

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(this review is spoiler-free)

I didn't realize when hearing of Into the Woods for the first time that it's a film adaption of a popular award-winning Broadway musical. 
As I understand from reading up about the original musical by Sondheim, several things have been changed from it in the film: some of the plot has been rewritten, several songs cut and new ones put in their places, overall editing it for a PG rating. Even so there are times when it slips on the boarderline of being disturbing (the wolf) and though none of the gruesome violence is shown it's hinted at clearly and there is still suggestive material.

The film tells the tales of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, and though these stories have no traditional connection they are drawn together by the new story of a baker and his wife (Corden and Blunt) who wish for a child. Every character has a wish, and each is drawn by it into the woods. When the baker and his wife are told that they are unable to have children because of a curse and that it can be revoked by collecting certain items to be found in the woods, they go to the woods immediately. And there, in the woods, the characters meet and their stories intertwine.


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I loved the costumes and the lush colors, and the different characters and the casting. All the cast have great voices. Meryl Streep, who was perfect as the witch, especially sounded great singing her songs. I really liked James Corden as the baker and Emily Blunt as his wife. Depp has a surprisingly short amount of screen time, but it was still fun to see him. There are some really funny scenes where the whole theater was laughing. I liked the voice-over narrative and the songs, some of which are hilarious (Agony) and some thought provoking, and the haunting music. I liked the cinematography and the camera movement flowed nicely. But I didn't like the jokes directed to the audience that pull me, at least, out of the story, and I thought the screen went a little too dark at times. All the fairy tales stick to their originals, I liked that, but the lessons the characters learn don't mean what they do in the original stories. I think the different tales could have been pulled together better to make a tighter story. The last third of the movie felt weaker than the first two. 

About two thirds through the movie every wish is come true according to the fairy tales, but the film doesn't end there. It's then that the consequences come and each character has to live with their wish. So there are what could be called two endings, the main question of the first being will the characters get their wishes, live happily ever after? and that of the second being will the characters survive, how will they live happily ever after? 


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After being in the woods none of the characters are the same. There's adventure there for all of them, and it gives each an experience which displays their character at all extremes, and in the end they leave having learned something they never knew before, carrying some knowledge or wisdom they didn't carry before. The woods are like a story which one learns from and changes from, but which one must leave in the end. My favorite song is Finale/Children Will Listen (part 1), listening to it gives me chills. 

Guide them along the way,
Children will glisten.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.
Careful before you say,
"Listen to me."
Children will listen.
...
Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen.


I'm beginning to love film adaptions of musicals. Overall, Into the Woods is a good show, but not much more than that were it not for some of the songs' lyrics. Meryl Streep's performance (e.g. Stay With Me) was the best part of it, for me. Have you seen Into the Woods - the movie or musicalDo you want to? If you've written a review please leave a link, I'd love to read it.


my rating 3.7/5
favorite line Careful the tales you tell, children will listen.


MPPA rating: PG (for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material)
Directed by
Written by  (screenplay),  (musical)
Staring  , 
Time 124 min
Sountrack by Stephen Sondheim
Release year 2014
Rating: (RT) 71%; (IMDb) 7.4/10

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18 comments:

  1. I loved the song, Agony! I liked this movie but it definitely isn't one of my favorites.

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    1. The scene when the princes sang Agony was definitely one of my favorites. :) I agree.

      xx

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  2. You're great at reviewing films! I'm so looking forward to seeing this. I love musicals and creepy fairytale-retellings, so this seems right up my alley.

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    1. Thank you, Hannah. :) I used to be bored by musicals when I was younger but I'm beginning to really like them, though I'm still pretty picky. ;) Looking forward to hearing what you think of Into the Woods! :)

      xx

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  3. When I was in preschool, I read fairy tales. But in elementary schools, we were read darker, more gruesome versions of them; which is probably the reason I have a mutual feeling when it comes to musicals like these. I think the original play is much darker than this, but then, Disney only allows so much of that darkness before reaching a certain borderline. My friends and I may go see this over the weekend; but for now, I shall go and settle with watch Battle of the Five Armies with my family in several hours. ^.^

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Yeah, from what I've read the original play was definitely darker than the movie is. The Battle of Five Armies is an excellent choice. :) Yay for middle earth! :)

      xx

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  4. I actually got to see this Christmas Day. It was okay but different from what I expected (I also didn't know till afterwards that it was an adaption!) The trailer I had seen for it made it look pretty serious so I was a little thrown off when several songs got quite campy. I suppose I should have expected it though, it was a Disney film, lol. I loved Meryl Streep, she was fantastic! :D I wished there was more of Depp since he's one of my faves, even if his role was creepy! XD

    ~Jamie

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    1. Yes! Meryl Streep was great! I was surprised by how little of J.D. there is, I guess I'd been expecting his part to have a bigger role in the story. Thanks for commenting, Jamie. :)

      xx

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  5. I've been wanting to see this, it sounds really good. I'm going to have to watch the musical now, too! I'm obsessed with musicals, lol ♥
    Amy xx

    Perfect Imperfections

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    1. Musicals are cool. :) Thanks for commenting, Amy! <3

      xx

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  6. Seems like a great movie!

    -Max

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    1. I enjoyed it a lot, but it's not a favorite. Thanks for commenting, Max! :)

      xx

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  7. Good review S! I saw it as soon as I thought I would, and posted my review today. :D I found more fault with this than you, but what I did love was the same things you did -- I agree with your whole review! Agony was great! :D And I was really impressed with Meryl Streep's performance, (her voice was perfect!) and Emily Blunt's. And James Corden was great -- the perfect lead. I loved the way it all looked too. What I didn't like it much more complicated, and all happened in the 3rd act, which was a little disappointing after it's setting up so well. I don't necessarily need a "happy" ending, but a just ending would have been nice. At least it ended hopeful. :)

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    1. Thank you! Cool, I'll go read it now. :) Merly Streep's performance was great, and James Corden really was perfect in his role. :)

      xx

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  8. Great review and thoughts, SW. Sorry this one didn't totally work for you, but I'm glad you did enjoy it. :) Thanks for visiting Dreaming Under the Same Moon and reading the review. It's always fun to chat with fellow moviegoers about the movies we see. :)

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    1. Thanks, Rissi. :) I definitely did enjoy seeing it! I love your blog, and it is fun to chat about movies. :)

      xx

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  9. I was pretty darn surprised how little Johnny was in the film. I liked the movie, but it wasnt as good as I thought it would be.

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    1. I enjoyed seeing it in the theaters, but I agree. Thanks for commenting, Sarah. :)

      xx

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