Friday, February 19, 2016

Into the Woods (2014)

Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Frances de la Tour, Richard Glover

Welcome to the world in the woods, where many characters enter to gain their happy ending. The Baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) want nothing more than to have a child. Jack (Huttlestone) must sell his cow and best friend to provide for his mother (Ullman). Red Riding Hood (Crawford) is delivering treats to her Grandmother's house with the Big Bad Wolf (Depp) in pursuit. Cinderella (Kendrick) dreams of a life away from her evil stepmother (Baranski) and into the arms of the Prince (Pine). And the Witch (Streep) who promises to make their dreams come true is dealing with her rebellious daughter Rapunzel (Mauzy) and her prince (Magnussen).

Adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's fantastical Broadway musical is a treat thanks to Sondheim's music, which is beautifully transformed to the screen, but the continued relentlessness in trying to fit in too much in a short amount of time and trying to give all characters equal screen time leaves us drained. The script, adapted by James Lapine who co-wrote the musical with Sondheim, could have been dealt with better by cutting down certain roles and not battering the audience with sentimental meanings in the last 20 minutes.

As painful as it is, Deep's role is quite meaningless though still humorous, not to mention a tragedy in costume design by Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Alice in Wonderland). As usual, Streep outshines her co-stars, though Blunt is her delightful self once again and it's always great to see Ullman in anything. At the end of the day, we still have Sondheim's wonderful musical behind it. I'd just prefer to throw the needle on the old vinyl record than shove this in a DVD player.

2.5/5

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