Disney took on the task of adapting a successful Broadway play into a movie this winter. Into the Woods premiered on Christmas Day 2014. As a contemporary twist on the classic tales of the Brothers Grimm, the movie follows Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood as their lives intertwine in the Woods, all tied together with the story of a Baker and his wife.
Overall, the movie was fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed a complicated plot, with stories-within-stories, and Into The Woods did not disappoint. The twists on the classic stories we’ve all heard a thousand times made the movie fresh and interesting; even when I thought I knew what was going on, there was a twist that makes the old story seem new again. For example, Cinderella doesn’t really want the Prince, because the Prince is full of himself, and, quite frankly, annoying. This twist is definitely not the classic fairytale cliche. The movie was engaging; whenever there is a complex storyline with a story-within-a-story, you have to pay attention as to not miss anything. And the shocking ending—I won’t give anything away, other than that someone dies—which I was quite surprised to see, considering this is a Disney movie (even if it is an adaptation), and there are always Happily-Ever-Afters in Disney films. Even the soundtrack was catchy, and it is clear how the original musical won a Tony for Best Score, along with two others.
Many well-known stars appeared in this adaptation, including Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, and Johnny Depp, many of whom I was excited to see. Daniel Huttlestone, recognizable from his part in the movie adaptation of Les Miserables, played Jack, and was easily my favorite character; he was absolutely adorable.
This film also marked the fourth movie that Lucy Punch played an evil stepsister role; she was also in Ella Enchanted, Cinderella 2000, and a BBC adaptation of Cinderella. I had recognized her from Ella Enchanted, and was surprised to see how many times she has played this role.
Johnny Depp was great as the Big Bad Wolf, as well; he took on the part fully, and somehow made the whiskers, hat (with built-in fox ears), and even the tail frightening in the extreme. However, it seems like Depp is always playing the same role: the mysterious and crazy character, like the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland. I’d like to see him branch out more, and let someone else step up to the plate for these types of roles.
Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen were especially hilarious, with the ‘Agony’ scene easily being my favorite part of the movie both musically and comically. If you don’t see the movie for any other reason, I’d say to see it for this scene.
My rating: a must-see. Everyone can enjoy this movie for children of all ages and bring out their inner Disney.