Review: Into the Woods

Genre: Comedy | Fantasy | Family Directed by: Rob Marshall Starring: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine Written by:  James Lapine (screenplay & musical)
Genre: Comedy | Fantasy | Family
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine
Written by: James Lapine (screenplay & musical)


Synopsis: 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. (c) Imdb


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Christmas Day, Disney is unwrapping their big present to all moviegoers. Into the Woods hits theaters nationwide. Unfortunately this present will feel more like getting a nice shirt when you were asking for those Jordan sneakers. That’s how Into the Woods feels like, a nice gift, but not what you were hoping for. The hype for the film doesn’t live up to the expectations.


The film is based on the stage play of the same name, however it feels much more like a movie that forces incorporates various musical numbers. Into the Woods is song heavy, it’s a musical after all. At some point every main and supporting character delves into a musical number. The surprise of them all might be the vocal skills of Emily Blunt. She’s pretty impressive in that area. The sets are elaborate and mystical. The woods itself are a major character in the film. It’s where the majority of the story plays out. The trees are infinite and imposing. The mood is mainly dark and brooding. I found that a bit surprising that they chose to play out the story during the night and dusk, instead of the daytime. The costumes of the characters are fitting. Each character is dressed and looks the part.


Everything happens in the woods
Everything happens in the woods


The cast is top-heavy. The big names which consists of Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, and Chris Pine among others. Aside from Streep and Kendrick, the rest of the star power is subjected to supporting roles. The most disappointing appearance goes to Johnny Depp who plays the Wolf. Depp’s on-screen time consists of one scene and a few minutes. Granted, his role isn’t supposed to be a large one, but it feels like a cameo instead of a supporting role. The major characters, Jack, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood are played by relative unknowns. The young actors playing these iconic roles don’t shine through in the film. The supporting actors like Streep steal the thunder. James Corden, who plays the Baker and is the virtual lead of the film is charming. Corden, who will be taking over Late Late Night Show from Craig Ferguson proves that he should be a household name in the near future. The casting had some hits and misses. Hits with all the proven stars. Misses with all the young unknown actors minimizing these iconic roles that they are playing.


Into the Woods isn’t spectacular, it’s average. The hype that Disney is putting forth does not justify what’s witnessed on-screen. It’s an entertaining film nonetheless. Fans of the stage play will notice the difference, but ultimately might not be disappointed. The sets, costumes, picturesque visuals are on par with what’s expected from a Disney film. They are very good at production. Into the Woods is labeled as a family film, however there are dark and sexual innuendos and elements throughout. There are themes of infidelity, affairs, and death that somewhat define the movie. This film is realistically geared towards young adults. If you want to see a family film with your kids, you’d be better of seeing Big Hero 6. Ultimately it’s an ambitious attempt by Disney to bring the stage play to more grandiose event that takes place on screen. The humor is alright, once again hits and misses on some parts. The musical aspect is satisfactory. The entertainment factor wavers. In the end it’s a solid, but unspectacular film. Good enough for the Golden Globes, but not good enough to be a top 10 Oscar nominee.


Into the Woods- 6.5 out of 10!

Singing galore


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About Jim Alexander

When it boils down to it, Jim's passion is entertainment. Aside from being an avid sports fan, that follows all things NFL, NBA, and Soccer. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. At the core of his interests...movies! Whether trying to catch the newest flick coming out this weekend, or the latest On Demand release, to heated debates with his friends and colleagues about the most recent "Box Office Blunder". The passion for movies lies deep within him. When he isn't writing, he immerses himself in his other interests; Acting and Radio Broadcasting. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimRko.

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