Title: Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Release Date: January 9th 2014 (UK)
Review: We all know and love a good fairy tale, and there's never a year without some element of one being cinematised to varying degrees of success (not naming any names). Well here we are once again with Into the woods which brings some well known fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzle) and then twists them all together in a star studded movie adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name.
A lot of people probably don't know of Sondheim, but NOW YOU DO - for he is a genius, and his musicals will stick with you ( Sweeny Todd anyone?!?) This one is no different, and I was drawn into it because of my love for a twist on an original tale. He takes the Grimm source material, and beautifully lyracises the plights of being a fairy tale child and that which happens when we normally hear happy ever after.
And yes this is a musical, so there was a lot of singing. Imagine how Les Mis was sung through, expect here it works really well and I didn't want it to end! The songs are great and you want to be singing along, and in fact half way through 'Agony' I was basically imagining myself as Chris Pine singing (from my seat and internally of course so as not to disturb anyone). The songs are full of rhyme, and repetition, that slink in and out of play in the film, so that instead of it just being a song moment they develop and add to the story and back stories of the characters. They also have a bad habit of getting stuck in your head, and if I'm ever in an argument expect a full on 'Your Fault' moment.
And oh Meryl....DAMN, 'Last Midnight' really got to me! My appreciation levels of her were already high but this film catapulted them. Everything from her singing to the look of her character and the way she took this on was amazing! I didn't want her to leave the screen. And who knew Emily Blunt can SINGGGG...props to her. Anna kendrick is obviously a musical film pro and her voice really suited the role. It was also great to get that ever after perspective and see that Prince Charming isn't all you though he was (though obviously not you Chris Pine...We love you Chris Pine!), and with his sultry vocal tones he was the perfect embodiment of Charming. Johnny Depp pops in and then pops out almost as quick so we don't really have much time with his Wolf character sadly, but hey, thats what you get for gobbling grannies..... Now I'm not the biggest James Corden fan, especially when he's singing, because he isn't the strongest vocalist. But he sings a lot better than I do, and he gave his all to the role so that I warmed to his character somewhat, though i'm not sure I'm a converted fan just yet....
Obviously as this is a Disney film, there's an element of toning down the content, and making it more family friendly, but what we are left with is still pretty darn good, and if you hadn't seen the original then you'd have no idea and you can ignore that last sentence. The script is funny, dark in places, plods along nicely and then when you think ahh ok is that it, BANG, next problem because ever after isn't forever it would seem. The characters work really well with each other, storylines slotting together easily so that we have a fresh take on well known tales that really adds to the fairy tale cannon.
This film should definitely go down as one of Disney's triumphs, and as one that we'll be watching for years to come!