So this was another film that I’ve really been looking forward to seeing, possibly because it feels like we’ve been waiting forever for it come out, and also because a lot of it was filmed in Ashridge (some woods near where I live). Of course the HUGE cast involved was a plus too! The story of Into the Woods follows a baker and his wife (the brilliant James Corden and Emily Blunt) who must lift a curse put upon them in order to be able to have a baby. To do this they have to acquire certain items from well-known fairytales and all in just 3 days.
The film very cleverly brings together the stories of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack & The Beanstalk when characters from each venture ‘Into the Woods’ on missions of their own. Everything about this film from the cast to the music to the overall production is fantastic – it’s no wonder that the film has been nominated for three Oscar’s (Costume design, Production design and Supporting Actress)!
I read a review about the film before I went to see it that said the story was wasted in film and they should have kept it as a musical on the stage. Having now seen it I can see where they are coming from, some scenes were worthy of applause like they would have received if it were on the stage, and indeed when the film ended a few brave souls starting clapping in the cinema before awkwardly stopping. In that way the film lost a bit of magic because all the actors involved gave an incredible performance (in particular watch out for the Prince’s duet and Meryl Streep’s stunning solo’s as the Witch), but sitting in the cinema you didn’t feel like you could get involved like you would in the theatre.
The only criticism I would have about the film would be that they promoted it as being ‘the dark side’ of the fairytales, the what happens after the ‘happily-ever-after’ type thing, but in reality this only comes into play in about the last half an hour of the film! Bare in mind it’s over two hours long as well so if that’s what drew you in then you’ll be very disappointed. Also if I’m honest, I felt like the last half an hour was very rushed and could probably have been left out. The rest of the film is very good and all the character’s stories are brilliantly interlinked, but for me the ending ruins it slightly.
That aside, it is worth a watch (if you like musicals that is), James Corden and Emily Blunt work perfectly together creating many comic moments and Meryl Streep is fantastic as the Witch. I really liked it, it’s just a shame about the ending.