Forget the fractured fairytale cartoons. Rob Marshall’s new film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical, kicks funny new life into all too familiar stories.
You know you’re not about to watch a traditional fairytale film when Into The Woods opens with Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) stealing pastries from a baker’s shop.
‘Into The Woods’ Review
That’s not exactly the Little Red Riding Hood that moms and dads want to tell their little children about at bed time.
But this sassy independent girl is just the first example of how fairytale characters are re-imagined in Marshall’s unconventional new film.
That’s what makes Into The Woods so interesting, aside from the fact that it’s populated by a huge name cast led off by Meryl Streep as the wicked witch, Johnny Depp unsurprisingly as the big bad wolf, Emily Blunt as the baker’s wife, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Chris Pine as the handsome Prince.
It’s the unexpected character and plot twists that really keep you glued on the screen even if you aren’t a besotted fan of Stephen Sondheim‘s music — which many are.
Into The Woods is like a musical mashup, mixing together several of your childhood favorite tales.
In this world, Little Red Riding Hood, playfully shoplifts pastries and bread for her granny from the sweet baker (James Corden) and his wife, who learn they have been cursed with infertility by the evil witch who in turn has been cursed by her own mother for losing the beans which Jack later finds and grows into the beanstalk.
Meanwhile, the wicked witch is secretly raising Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) who has been hidden away from the world but who is also the baker’s lost sister.
Cinderella escapes from her evil stepmother (Christine Baranski) and two evil step sisters and entrances the Prince, but then shockingly can’t decide if she wants to marry him.
And then it turns out that the handsome Prince and his equally hunky brother played by Billy Magnussen, are less than charming.
The Cast Really Do Have Pipes
But the biggest surprise is that the film doesn’t finish just when you think that everyone has thankfully achieved their happy ending.
There’s a whole new, never read at bed time before, story that you embark on with more twists and turns than you ever would have imagined.
Come prepared to laugh as Anna Kendrick plays the most independent, yet indecisive scullery maid who’s ever been faced with the choice between living in a castle or in the ashes by the fire.
And the best scene of all shows off the singing talents and excessive self love and preening of Chris Pine’s handsome prince and his studly brother.
Both are more self absorbed than any old Hollywood screen star as they prance and preen in a stream, showing off their prowess, while they sing about their love “Agony.”
These two are as baffled by Cinderella and Repunzel’s behavior as the baker and his wife are when they are sent on a bizarre mission by the wicked witch to reverse their infertility curse.
Into The Woods is as enchanting as any fairytale should be, and that’s even without all of Sondheim’s musical numbers which prove that yes, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick really do have pipes.
So HollywoodLifers, if you’re ready for a PG fairytale that’s full of fun for grown ups, check out Into The Woods!
— Bonnie Fuller
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