Writer: James Lapine (Screenplay) James Lapine (Musical)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine
Plot: A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Too Long
Story: Into the Woods starts by ‘once upon a timing us’ we have a small village on the edge of the woods where Cinderella (Kendrick) Jack (Huttlestone) and a childless Baker (Corden) along with his wife (Blunt) all live. Cinderella is left pushed around by her step sisters and mother making her do all the work. Jack is struggling with his mother to make ends meet and has to sale the only cow. The Baker and his wife let little Red Riding Hood (Crawford) head off into the woods to see granny. When the witch (Streep) from next door promises to lift the curse on The Baker’s family that she had placed years before where she has taken the baby sister of the Baker. The Baker must go into the woods to retrieve certain items which will lead him to clash with all the characters who possess one of the items.
We know all these characters from their fairy tales so we know the paths they should be taking and we follow The Baker as he falls into the stories to collect the items required. The Baker ends up becoming a catalyst to all of the stories to achieve the items as we continue to see the favourite characters and their fairy tale outcomes.
Into the Woods really does try to squeeze as many different fairy tale characters into the story and for the first half of the film I will say it works well adding slight twists to the stories we all know and loved as children. Where the film goes in a bad direction is for the second half, where everything just seems to go in a downward spiral. I appreciate this could be a way to show how happy endings don’t always happen but it really ended up coming off messy. We do have some terrible miss-casting too that hold the talented singers down. The film does jump between fairy tales too much and if you don’t know the basic story you might end up feeling lost to the actual point in certain parts of the film. This ends up being a very messy musical that had potential to be something very good. (4/10)
James Corden: Baker helpless lead who has to go into the woods to retrieve items from the fairy tales in order to lift the curse put upon his family by the witch next door. The Baker has to become the reluctant hero of the story. How did James Corden get a lead role in a film with such a talented cast? He really looks like a fish out of water here. (2/10)
Emily Blunt: Baker’s Wife who against her husband’s orders follows him into the woods to help him retrieve the items before the deadline. Emily does a good job here showing she can play nearly any role in films now. (7/10)
Meryl Streep: Witch who has put the curse on the Baker’s family, she sets the couple a list to retrieve while keeping his unknown sister locked away from the world. Meryl gives a good performance but what would you expect from the best in the business. (7/10)
Anna Kendrick: Cinderella the lowly slave to her step mother and sisters who breaks out of her home to go to the King’s festivals where she meets Prince Charming. Anna continues to make a name for herself in these musical performance and does a good job here. (7/10)
Chris Pine: Prince Charming who is searching for Cinderella after she runs from the festival. He hunts her down after she loses her golden slipper. Chris does a solid job here but sometimes looks lost with the singing side of the story. (6/10)
Daniel Huttlestone: Jack young boy who trades his best friend and cow for magic beans only to learn to see the world in a new perspective. Daniel follows up his scene stealing performance in Les Miserable with another scene stealing performance here. (8/10)
Lilla Crawford: Little Red Riding Hood off to see her grandma in the woods only to come across a wolf who tries to trick her. Lilla makes a good debut in the role showing her singing talents. (7/10)
Support Cast: Into the Woods does have plenty more of the fairy tale favourites or villains appearing that round of the cast nicely but in the end they don’t help the story.
Director Review: Robert Marshall – Robert tries to make this a good film but the source material isn’t used well enough here. (5/10)
Adventure: Into the Woods with all the adventures going on it is hard to enjoy any of them unfolding. (5/10)
Comedy: Into the Woods was this a comedy? (0/10)
Fantasy: Into the Woods delves into the fantasy world to create the environment well. (7/10)
Musical: Into the Woods is full of singing but no catchy songs to be heard. (4/10)
Settings: Into the Woods uses the setting well to make them feel like they are real. (8/10)
Special Effects: Into the Woods uses good effects to create the different characters that appear. (7/10)
Suggestion: Into the Woods is one to try, I think it will appeal more to certain fans but the musical fans man end up feeling let down by the end. (Try It)
Best Part: Jack is interesting take on the character.
Worst Part: James Corden as the lead.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture in Musical or Comedy, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Oscar Chances: It might get a few nods, but I am not sure how.
Box Office: $96 Million so far
Budget: $50 Million
Runtime: 2 Hour 5 Minutes
Overall: Uncatchy Musical