Into The Woods shouldn’t have appealed to me, musicals usually don’t, however nonetheless I really wanted to see this movie. It had a lot going for it, its great cast to start with should have been enough to get anyone watching but also its really clever and unique storyline combining four of the most well known fairy-tales with an original story. It was both of these elements that drew me to the film.
Into The Woods starts shaky with an intro that is far too long, it can’t decide between dialogue or song and this drove me mad. I know it was probably to be expected in a musical however I think it would have been more effective just to sing a song in its entirety instead of breaking it up with lines of speaking in-between. Anyway after this elongated intro we got stuck into the story which probably is the best element of the film. I just thought it was very clever and crafted so well, it plays on what you already know and adds in new elements to amuse and entertain you. The film is also clever as it allows you to fill in the gaps of the stories that you already know, there is no need to spoon feed the viewers and the film-makers knew this. The cast make the most of the story too and put their all into every part of it. The Bakers Wife (Emily Blunt) was the star for me, her character was just so funny and credit to Blunt whose last performance was in the all out action flick Edge of Tomorrow. She effortlessly takes to this role and makes her character the best in the film. However that isn’t to say the other characters were weak, they were far from it. James Corden does brilliantly as the Baker, Meryl Streep impresses as always as The Witch, Anna Kendrick makes for a great Cinderella with an impressive set of lungs too, Chris Pine is of course very charming in his role as the Prince and even Johnny Depp who I usually can’t stand does well as Mr. Wolf although it’s probably best just to forget his musical number.
Talking about the music, this element was very hit and miss. I struggle to really think that many of the songs apart from the title track were all that memorable. However the exception to this comes in the form of Pine and Magnussen as they poured their hearts out to their respective princesses in ‘Agony’ which was a great song which made for an even better sequence in the movie. However as a whole the film went for quantity over quality with its musical numbers as there were just far too many of them and often they were hard to distinguish between. There was also a fifty percent chance that the song was going to be about ‘The Woods’, seriously the title track more than covers this subject. Much like some of the songs which overstay their welcome the film is much the same being at least 30 minutes too long. The films rounds up nicely which would have made for a fine ending but then an entirely new plot develops meaning that you have to endure five or six more songs with only one of them being worth listening to. The film is only 2 hours long but this final plot addition made it feel like 3 hours, no exaggeration. If the first three quarters had simply been focused on and enhanced Into The Woods would have been a much better film. Instead it bored the audience and every minute it continued to run the viewers attention ran away with it.
The film looks wonderful though, and it really had potential to be great – I think I could have even put up with the annoying child actors/singers if the final act just hadn’t been included. There are some really good supporting characters/cast members too though and the film is worth seeing, even if it does feel more like an experience. You will certainly be singing ‘Into The Woods’ as you leave the cinema and most likely the next day too but I’m not sure whether it will be with joy or reluctance.
BIGGEST FLAW – Way too long
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Super solid cast who put their all into their characters
Rating – 6.5/10