Film Review: Into the Woods (2014)

into_the_woods_ver12Film: Into the Woods
Released: 2014
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski

Big screen version of the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name. A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

What I thought of it:
I remember once seeing a televised version of the musical where the witch was played by the phenomenal Bernadette Peters and being blown away. I’ve never yet seen the live stage version, but I was super excited when I heard of this production being green-lighted and waited with bated breath to see who would be cast.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The music and story remain the same, and the performances from the stellar cast are of the highest class. Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better cast. In particular, stand out performances from Depp as the Big Bad Wolf (a brief, but important part), and Streep as the Wicked Witch, who isn’t perhaps as wicked as people might have originally thought (one can understand her 19th Oscar nomination for this film). A surprisingly strong vocal performance from Pine as one of the handsome princes was a pleasure to see and hear (who would have thought he had such a princely singing voice?) and a neat turn from Ullman as Jack’s mother were nice touches, but I was particularly pleased with the onscreen chemistry between Cordon and Blunt, as the baker and his wife, who carry the majority of the story and handled their parts with admirable aplomb.

And my eldest son, who is six years old, thought this film was fantastic, giving it full marks. It kept him entertained from start to finish. It’s definitely worth watching with the kids, as the unusual take on the traditional fairytales is sure to spark conversations and get their imaginations working.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Nominated for Oscars in three categories (Best Supporting Actress for Streep, Best Achievement in Production Design, and Best Costume Design), I feel this one might nab the costume statue, along with Steep possibly bagging another win. As the actress most often nominated for Oscars in performance categories, she may well convert this into another win, and I would be very happy for her to take this one home.


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