As a long time fan of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, I had high hopes for this elaborate musical adaptation (which in turn is based on a Broadway play). I’m sorry to report that I came away disappointed. It would take a lot to completely spoil the original material, but I never felt a connection with any of the characters or their stories. In fact, I think the movie, for all its songs and fancy production values, offers a diminished experience. In the theater one doesn’t need all those elements to feel the impact of the story. The movie has all of that and more, but director Rob Marshall doesn’t belong to the “less is more” school of thought. His movie offers more of more, and I didn’t care for most of it. If you’re unfamiliar with the Broadway version, “Into The Woods” interweaves the stories of “Cinderella”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Rapunzel” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Everyone tries his or her best, from Chris Pine as a Prince charming, to Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. But this is Meryl Streep’s show, and she makes the most of it (she’s probably the only reason I stayed until the end). There are some enjoyable scenes, and some of the songs are well realized. But I was utterly unprepared for the second half of the film, which turns into one gigantic musical scene, without letup. As a feat of moviemaking it’s impressive, but merciless. And by the end of the picture I was exhausted, not exhilarated. Instead of being moved, I felt a curious remove. It is, perhaps, not insignificant that the Grimm brothers’ stories were short, and not meant to sustain the length of a 2 hour film. Either way, I can only call the finished product a misfire.