Into the Woods Canada, UK, USA 2014 – 125min.
Into the Woods
Once upon a time... Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, were brought together in the same forest by a curse. In the beginning, a baker and wife find out how to come by the child they have always wanted. They must bring four things to a wicked witch: a cow that is white as milk, a slipper as pure as gold, a cape as red as blood and hair as yellow as corn. They go into the forest to find these four objects.
Taken from the Broadway musical, Into the Woods, this is not director Rob Marshall’s first foray into film musicals – see Chicago and Nine. However, despite a slew of good actors (Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine) and a studio that should know what it’s doing (Disney) the result gets boring quickly. If the songs sound a lot like Sweeny Todd, it’s because they are written by the legendary Stephen Sondheim, who unfortunately didn’t really make an effort this time. The universe of each fairy tale is distorted, the princes charming are unfaithful and, despite a few funny scenes, the whole thing falls flat. Notable is the scene in which the two princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) profess their love by ripping open their shirts to show off their virile torsos during a stunt. Although these self-deprecating bits are nicely done by the actors, they can’t save the rest, which lacks rhythm and directorial daring. Additionally, there is no real choreography, which is disappointing in light of the elaborate work offered in Nine. Your ears will be ringing as you leave the theater.