Film Review – Into The Woods

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I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Into The Woods….A musical? Reworking classic fairytales? No thanks.

What a big surprise to discover this is a quality piece of entertainment.

A first rate cast including Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick Emily Blunt, Chris Pine and James Corden keep this two hour long flick full of pace and energy and their singing chops ain’t bad either.

Based around the Tony Award winning mid-80s musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim from the book by James Lapine, and utilising the plots and characters of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood“, “Jack and the Beanstalk“, “Rapunzel“, and “Cinderella“, amongst others, the musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch (Streep) who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey “Into The Woods”.

Fresh from seeing The Book of Mormon for myself on Broadway a few months ago, I had some sense of what a great musical was about and this one fits the bill to a tee.

It also served as a marvellous bridge for my 7 year old daughter who is reaching the end of her Disney Princess phase and after watching Maleficent, is ready for more mature themes. Into The Woods provides solid material for any audience as well as carrying the torch for lovers of fairytales, of all ages, while also poking a huge amount of fun at itself. The only odd aspect was it’s final act, whereby having wrapped up the story it goes off on another tangent to a darker place to touch on the consequences of some of the characters actions. Probably necessary to avoid the whole thing being too saccharine, but Miss 7 did grow a tiny bit restless.

Positively spellbinding.

3 & 1/2 stars.

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