Into The Woods [2014] ★★

 into-the-woods-poster1-405x600As 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.

Rating: 2/4

2 replies »

  1. the thing is, this play/movie is much more Brecht than Stanislavski, it’s an exercise in style, and most importantly, you are not supposed to ‘connect’ with the characters, but to study them… the biggest clue is in the songs themselves, however there’s another clue, when cinderella ‘stops time’ to reflect upon her decision while prince charming is chasing her… this alone should tell you that this is not about the stories but what is behind them… and the last part… awesome, even if a bit long, it’s a whole study… the movie is supposed to be thought provoking, not emotion provoking 🙂
    the stage musical is actually 2h30mn long 🙂
    my only problem was the voices, some of them were really annoying…

    • Honestly I think this movie is just a way to show an unexpected turn of events and to try and be unpredictable or maybe original but I think it’s a fail. As for the acting such as the amazing meryll streep and Johnny deep and even the little boy and anna Kendrick they were very good, the graphics were interesting and the whole filming process was well thought out and well accomplished. It’s the story that lost my interest and I too only stayed to watch meryll streep’s performance until the end.
      While I respect all opinions, I find that the previous comment was delusional. Not all of the songs, not even half had a deeper meaning and the time stopping scene is one significant scene among only a couple others in a two hour long movie.. but oh well.
      In any way, I would’ve given it less than a 2 honestly and the rating on imdb surprised me.

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