I’ve been excited to see this movie ever since I saw the first picture of it on tumblr. Into the Woods originally was a Stephen Sondheim musical which was now adapted to the screen by Disney. Let’s see what this mash-up of different fairytales has to offer:
The baker and his wife are desperate. They can never have children due to a curse put on their family by a witch. It turns out the reason was the baker’s father stealing from the witch’s garden for his pregnant wife (–> Rapunzel). However, the spell can be lifted if they find four items for the witch: a red cloak (–> Red Riding Hood), a white cow (which they get from Jack in exchange of some beans –>Jack and the Beanstalk), a golden slipper (—> Cinderella), and yellow hair (–> Rapunzel). After many difficulties they gather the things and everybody gets their happy ending. Only, the endings aren’t as happy as they seem…
I had high expectations for this one but unfortunately I was disappointed.
As there are so many different elements and stories, none of them gets much time. Many of the aspects seem cut-off while other scenes feel repeated and unnecessary. The fairytales mentioned for example are hardly depicted at all. I would have been interested in seeing what’s above the clouds instead of suddenly having Jack strolling along with a golden egg. I guess as everyone knows these fairytales it was decided that the stories needn’t be explained.
The same problem occurred to me with the second part of the movie, where the happy endings have to face reality. The reasons for the actually rather unhappy feelings are not really shown either. Many things are just mentioned in one sentence and never picked up again.
Another thing that bother me, was the singing. I am aware that it’s based on a musical and it’s a Disney movie so there will be singing. But sometimes it felt way over the top. The singing often seemed forced. Normal conversation parts were sung although they were obviously not meant to be. That’s just unnecessary and annoying.
However, the actors all were great. For this movie only the finest Hollywood actors gather up – from Meryl Streep to Johnny Depp. They made the best of the script I guess. The special effects were also done well. The movie in its entirety looks really nice, the setting is beautiful. But what do we really get besides pretty pictures?
Summing up I have to say that this movie was a letdown. Although it looks good, the way it’s told is rather unfortunate.