Into the Woods (2014) – Viewed 26/01/2015

Into the woods_Main

Director: Rob Marshall

Featuring: James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp

Genre: Musical, Adventure, Fantasy

Age Rating: PG

Running Time: 125 Minutes

Director Rob Marshall introduces the Disney Universe to the darker side of well-known fairy tales with his screen adaptation of the original Broadway production from James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim.

The story centres on the four tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. The film cleverly manipulates key moments in each story, such as, the loss of Cinderella’s shoe, the selling of Jack’s cow and the cutting of Rapunzel’s hair, to intertwine the four plots as sub-plots of a childless baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), who are trying to reverse a curse put on their family tree by the wicked witch (Meryl Streep).

This ‘live action’ Disney feature was personally all song, with a lack of substance and excitement. The songs were not memorable, which is unusual for a Disney feature, and if anything, annoying at times. Unlike Maleficent (2014) and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which emphasise the strengths of human adaptations, this film unfortunately had you wishing it was an animation.

Although Anna Kendrick (Cinderella), who has proven herself as a decent singer in Pitch Perfect, and Emily Blunt (The Baker’s wife), who brought a sense of comedy and sarcasm to the picture, were quite funny to watch, the only part of this film which kept the majority of the audience surrounding me happy were the moments when Chris Pine (Prince Charming) was on screen attempting to sing.

James Corden’s character of the Baker is a very anti-hero specimen, who spends the majority of the story whining about the on goings around him, and the two children involved Lilla Crawford and Daniel Huttlestone, remind you why you prefer to hear their voices in animated films rather than watch their obnoxious natures on screen.

The film’s strongest point is the story and how it has introduced the audience to perhaps ‘hidden scenes’ from the original fairy tales. It is a genius aspect of the film, but unfortunately it has very little to do with Disney themselves. I tend to only watch the Disney films I am interested in, rather than all that are released, so it would be unfair for me to say that this is one of their worst features brought to our screens, but I will stand by my point that it will be the worst ‘live-action’ Disney-produced feature I see in 2015, a year that includes the likes of Cinderella (March 2015), Tomorrowland (May 2015), and, of course, Star Wars: Episode VII (December 2015). Hopefully I am not proven wrong!

Recommendation: A sing-song without the memorable songs which should be left for a SkyMovies/Netflix or DVD watch. It is Oscar season after all – so spend your money elsewhere!

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