The Tony Award-Winning musical “Into the Woods” has been successful in its transfer from Broadway to the big screen with an entertaining cast and intriguing storyline, though admittedly losing some of its legendary magic in the process.
Loosely twisted around the classic fairytales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, the premise of the story centers on a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who embark on a quest to lift a curse placed upon them by a witch (Meryl Streep) who has kept the couple from having a child.
Whimsical, but definitely dark, an uncharacteristic shift in Disney, the film is enjoyable, but is far from leaving audiences on the edge of their seats, even with the incomparable Streep gracing the screen.
Blunt and Corden deliver touching performances, though it is unsurprising that of the two, only Blunt was nominated for a Golden Globe. Simply put, there is just something missing from Corden’s portrayal of the Baker, which makes the attention shift from him to other characters within the scene.
On the other hand, Little Red Riding Hood, portrayed by Lilla Crawford, steals the attention in each scene but not necessarily in the best way. More Broadway than film, she is constantly loud, and her voice seems a bit off, possibly making the Wolf (Johnny Depp) wish he did not have such large ears with which to hear her better.
Like most fairytales, the stories are dark; however, certain aspects of the musical have been changed, including the nature of the relationship between Little Red and the Wolf, an occurrence between the Baker’s wife and Cinderella’s Prince, and a death of one of the characters, in order to make the film more family friendly—after all, it is Disney.
Undeniably melancholy, there is also a fair amount of humor supplied to balance the grief and horror which seems to lurk around every corner. The efforts of Cinderella’s charming, though insincere, prince (Chris Pine) to supply humor must be mentioned as they are honestly one of the best parts of the movie, with one scene in particular which may make an audience cry from laughter.
It might be hard to believe that hearing the same song for two hours would not drive a person mad, but a talented cast and amusing storyline gives the film a charming quality, though it still seems to have lost a little of the magic it first cast on audiences on the stage.