Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Into the Woods

Into the Woods
Starring:
Anna Kendrick, Johnny Deep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, James Corden, Mackenzie Mauzy, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone and Tracy Ullman


Rated: PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: December 25, 2014 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

Into The Woods is a combination of a number of traditional fairy tales which end happily ever after, but with a mixing of characters and different ending endingS. 

The Baker (James Corden) and his wife Emily Blunt) are hoping for a child with no success, but the Witch (Meryl Streep) promises to make them fertile if they gather a red cloak, a white cow, golden hair and a golden slipper.  With those hints we can guess who is involved in the mixed list of traditional characters. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) is in the same situation as usual and she calls on birds and a little magic to help get her to the ball where she meets Prince Charming (Chris Pine).  But she escapes from the ball in each of three evenings of celebration, with the prince following close behind.  Her step-mother is played by Christine Baranski who could be better in this part.  

A young boy named Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) heads out to sell his white cow for 5 pounds, as ordered by his mother (Tracy Ullman) but settles for 5 beans from the Baker and his wife.  The beans as we might guess grow into a vine that reaches the clouds over night.  At the top Jack finds large gold coins and a golden harp, which he takes home with the a 
Giant following him down the vine. 

The Witch has Rapunzel confined to a tower where her golden hair is let down to allow a climber to meet with her, she happens to be the sister of the Baker. It twists more as Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) heads Into The Woods to grandma's house with the wolf (Johnny Deep) right behind.

At one point using a very effective musical sound track it appears it will all end with a traditional happy ending, but it doesn't.

This musical stage play translates very effectively to the screen.  It all works smoothly and the woods are very much one of the characters.  Director, Rob Marshall who directed the academy award winner Chicago apparently understands how to bring a stage musical effectively to the screen. 

The new interaction of the characters creates interesting new directions, problems and endings.  Just as an example Prince Charming hits on the Baker's wife and when she questions how he could act that way when he is in love with Cinderella, he states "I have been taught how to be charming not faithful."

The musical score flows easily into the creative use of traditional characters in new and unique situations which are not expected but are interesting and compelling to follow. 

Into The Woods fits wonderfully into the holiday season for everyone who remembers the characters and stories of the traditional old fairy tales and who can enjoy a little twist in their lives.  

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Olivia Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Into the Woods  B+   B+   B   B+         A   B   B   B+ 
A Top Ten for 2014
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