Fairy tale retellings have always intrigued me. Our culture seems to be saturated with stories of beautiful princesses and heroic princes, of exciting adventures and the prospect of living happily ever after. Perhaps this is why fairy tale retellings are so popular- they simultaneously remind us of our childhood while also challenging the traditional tales we have come to know and love. Fairy tales are a common aspect of life that the majority of people can relate to, making them a gold mine for the film industry. Yet these adaptations never fail to put smiles on the eager faces of movie-goers.
The movie Into the Woods is certainly no exception. Directed and produced by Rob Marshall, this movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods is sure to delight all fans (both young and old!) of fantasy and adventure. It follows characters from several different fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, to name a few) as they embark on journeys into the woods. Despite their separate roots, the lives of these characters quickly begin to intertwine as a baker and his wife endeavor to lift a curse set upon them by an evil witch. Although it is based on the light-hearted fairy tales of childhood, Into the Woods presents he darker, bittersweet side of life in a world of enchantment.
The story itself was really entertaining and captivating. I loved the way all of the separate stories gradually intertwined to create one big connected web of characters and conflicts. The fairy tales were familiar enough to ward off unwanted confusion, but new enough to keep it interesting. My favorite character was Cinderella because I felt as though she had a strong, smart, kind, and independent head on her shoulders. I also really liked the baker because he was such a kind, down-to-earth guy. (And it helped that I recognized James Corden from being in a Doctor Who episode!)
There were numerous unexpected plot twists, and I honestly never expected it to end the way it did. I thought the ending was a little disappointing, but since I don’t want to ruin it for anyone I won’t go into detail about it here. Let’s just say that the conclusion was a lot darker than I was expecting and hoping for! Who knew these classic fairy tales could be so tragic? Moreover, I expected Johnny Depp to have a much larger role in the movie than he actually did. He was present for a few minutes in the beginning and then he never made another appearance. With such a talented actor on hand, it’s strange that he was only featured for a few moments.
Good acting is really important to me when watching any kind of performance, and I have to say that I was really impressed with the acting in this movie. All of the actors and actresses did an excellent job- not that it’s really surprising, especially when you consider who starred in this movie. Big screen veterans such as Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and several others really nailed their roles, as did the actors I had never heard of before. And we absolutely cannot forget to discuss the incredible singing in this movie! I was completely taken aback by how fantastic everyone sounded, most notably Chris Pine- who knew Captain Kirk could sing? The song that he sings with the other prince is called “Agony” and it was probably my favorite part of the movie. They’re so full of themselves that it’s hilarious!
Overall, Into the Woods was an impressive musical adaptation that surprised me in many ways, both good and bad. Although I did not care for the ending very much, the rest of the movie was really enjoyable to watch. The star-studded cast breathed new life into these beloved fairy tales with their lovely singing and acting, and the special effects and visuals of the movie as a whole were great as well. I definitely recommend it!
What did you think of this movie? Have you seen the musical it is based on? Let me know in the comments section below!