Title: Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Written By: James Lapine
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp
Genres: Fantasy / Fairytale retellings
Rating: PG-13 — Fantasy action, some suggestive material, etc.
Runtime: 2 hours, 5 minutes. In other words? WAY TOO LONG.
Book Adaptation: N / A (adapted from a stage musical)
Description: 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.
2/5 stars –
I really hate the fact that I am giving this one two stars. Me? I love fairytale retellings: books movies, whatever—I’ll read / watch it. And I have to say that while Into the Woods held the promise of a fantastic story and loveable characters, it fell flat in way too many areas for me to truly like it.
What I liked the most about this was how this movie wove several well-known fairytales together to form one movie. (But Cinderella’s golden shoes? GOLDEN? WHAT IS THIS, PEOPLE? IT’S GLASS. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN GLASS. I am way too upset about this to be normal, I know. We all have our issues.)
(Yes, I am really, really looking forward to the Cinderella that’s coming out this year.)
I dislike movies that lull you into thinking they’re almost done—and then bam! The next thing you know, the storyline has picked up again, and they’re on another adventure, and the movie goes on for what feels like another two freaking hours. And I think I would have liked this one a lot more if it had ended at the wedding scene. You know—the classical Happily Ever After scene: Cinderella has married her prince, Rapunzel has found the love of her life, and so on. Cool. That’s fine. While happy endings aren’t usually my favourite—it would have worked fine in this aspect. BUT OH, NO. It couldn’t end there, could it? Nope.
After the wedding was where thing unraveled and quickly for me.
And so, another grand adventure began . . . and went on, and on, and on some more. I needed way more popcorn than I had to get through this movie, I’m telling you. I went into Into the Woods fully prepared for a musical—and hey, that’s what I got. I don’t mind musical . I’m not their biggest fan, but I’ll sit through one and probably enjoy it.
Here is the thing with musicals, though: a lot of the songs sound the same.
Why, I don’t know, but in my meager musical experience, that’s what I found. I think with me for a musical to really click with me, I actually have to be able to separate the songs from each other.
My next qualm I have with the movie is probably spoilery, hence why it’s “invisible”. So just highlight it if you want to read it, and skip over it if you don’t. (I tried to match the exact colour of the background… but couldn’t quite get it no matter how hard I tried. Let me know if it’s still too visible!)
Like I’ve mentioned above, after the wedding was where the movie fell on its face. This, I thought, was for several reasons.
1. What the hell was wrong with that prince? I get it. They didn’t want to give Cinderella that typical happily ever after—they wanted a mildly realistic ending to that story, and that I can appreciate—but man, what a creep. That is all.
2. The baker’s wife, whom clearly wasn’t important enough for a proper name—but hey, let’s kill her off anyway for some action! Ooookay. Can someone please explain the point of her random death to me? How did it drive the story forward in any way? What was the purpose of her death? JUST WHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYY?! To me, its only purpose was so the others could sing a sad song, and evoke some sort of emotion in the viewer that wasn’t complete boredom. Clearly, that’s some stellar storytelling there, folks.
3. Some empathy for the giant would’ve been nice too, you know. I mean, Jack—you did just kill her husband, you ass. Maybe, instead of devising a plan to murder the poor woman, you know have, you know, actually talked to her.
4. This brings me to the fact that most of the story was told through the story instead of being shown. This was when I realized that Into the Woods might have been a stage production—because obviously when you’re on a stage you haven’t got the equipment to be able to replicate what they’re singing about. If you need an example: it was a song Jack sung, when he went up the beanstalk. He sung about the giant’s world but the viewer never saw it. All we got to see was him climbing up / down the beanstalk. Again—this is because of its origins as a stage production. That’s fine. But when you’re adapting in to screen, where you have the technology to be able to replicate whole new worlds—then why not? It was dull. I never really thought I would see the guideline of show-don’t-tell bothering me in a freaking movie.
I could probably go on a lot longer about the things I didn’t like in Into the Woods, but I won’t. All in all I found it had very little redeeming qualities.