Released eight years back, Rob Marshall-directed Into the Woods is an American musical fantasy film. It’s an adaption from James Lapine’s and Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 Broadway musical with the same title. Walt Disney Pictures produced this movie, and James is the screenplay writer. It features a large ensemble cast, including the recent hype Johnny Depp. Into the Woods was one of the top 11 best films of 2014 that was well received and received a positive review from most of the critics.
The film was entirely shot in the United Kingdom. Its world premiere was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s artist, Mike Higham, is the music producer. It grossed $213.1 million worldwide against a budget of $50 million. So let’s review Into the Woods and know its insights.
About Into The Woods
Disney announced its film project in 2012. Academy Award-nominated Into The Woods in three categories, including the best-supporting actress (Streep). Golden Globe Award also nominated the film for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
The Ensemble cast
James Corden (as the Baker), Emily Blunt (Baker’s wife), and Meryl Streep (The Witch) lead the story. Anna Kendrick (Cinderella), Chris Pine(her prince), Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood), Annette Crosbie (her grandmother), Daniel Huttlestone (Jack), Tracey Ullman (his mother), MacKenzie Mauzy (Rapunzel), Billy Magnussen (her Prince), Johnny Depp (The Big Bad Wolf), and Frances de la Tour as the Giant’s Wife were among other ensemble casts.
A Baker and his wife, living under a witch’s curse, couldn’t have children. They approach her for a solution. But she demands four things she can’t touch-a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, a hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. These are required to prepare a potion that will cure her ugliness and make her young (she was cursed with ugliness by her mother).
The First Half
Baker and his wife meet Jack with his Milky-White cow and offer him the (stolen) magical beans (Baker’s father stole them from that witch). Jack accidentally sows them into a beanstalk. Next, they meet Red Riding Hood with her red cape, Rapunzel (Witch’s adopted daughter) with blonde hair, and Cinderella’s golden ball slippers while fleeing from the pursuing Prince. Rapunzel is Baker’s biological sister.
The Baker and his wife, facing some misadventures, succeed in gathering ingredients for the potion. As Witch regains her youth, other characters too receive a happy ending. Cinderella marries Prince, and his brother frees Rapunzel from the Witch’s tower and marries her. Poor Jack helps his mother with stolen wealth from the sky’s Giant, and Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are out of the Big Bad Wolf’s fear.
The Second half
But, the so-called happy ending is not happy in reality. The Witch loses her powers in exchange for her youth. Cinderella’s prince cheats her with Baker’s wife. The Baker is now a poor father. The leftover bean stock allows the Giant’s widow to climb down and threaten the kingdom in return for Jack.
All the characters assemble to find Jack, but their morality stops them from handing him over. However, Red Riding Hood’s mother and grandmother, Jack’s mother, and Baker’s wife get killed. The remaining ones begin a blame game that ends blaming Witch. She, therefore, curses them for their inability to take responsibility, begging her mother for punishment. She melts into a large pit of boiling tar
The enlightened group decides to kill the threatening Giant’s widow. They trick her into stepping into the tar pit, where she slips and falls to her death. And everyone goes back to mend their lives. Baker aims to be a good father. Cinderella leaves the prince and helps the baker along with (orphaned) Jack and Red Riding Hood.
Into The Woods Review
The story of this film was an adaptation of Broadway but was something different from the typical Disney princess movies. It tried to play with the cliche of the happy ending and connected it with realism. With its well-experienced ensemble cast, the movie is worth an appreciation for the acting part. Blunt (Baker’s wife) and Streep (Witch) have done a fabulous job. The music of “Stay with Me” and “Last Midnight” sums up the witch’s character.
Despite the criticism for its lighter tone than the source, as per this review article, Into The Woods, it is entertainment for an audience of a wide range.
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