Movie Review: “Into the Woods”

I’ll be up front and honest with all of you; there were three reasons and three reasons alone I wanted to see this movie:

  1. The plot sounded interesting.
  2. Craig Owens
  3. Captain Kirk

Because, really, how can you pass up a musical after you learn that Craig and Kirk are going to be singing in it? I was right, too, in that the plot was interesting although the ending was a tad depressing. It was something along the lines of, “And those that didn’t get killed lived happily ever after.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Into the Woods is the story of a childless baker and his wife who must venture…into the woods…near their village to collect the ingredients that their next-door witch needs to reverse the curse that rendered them childless in the first place. Along the way, they cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and his beanstalks, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. All of these fairytale characters have wishes of their own they want to come true, but the witch shows them all that they have to be careful what they wish for…and that there comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your own choices.

All in all, it was good–not bad, not great, just a solid good. It wasn’t a happy ending per se, but I still think the characters all learned something greatly important, namely that we are all responsible for the choices we make. Blaming others for our bad decisions doesn’t accomplish anything.

I must say that I really liked Meryl Streep as the witch. I haven’t seen a lot of movies with her, but she gave a pretty powerful performance, especially with “Stay with Me” and “Last Midnight”. As a Whovian, I was thrilled to see James Corden in this, and he brought his solid, sensible charm to his role as the baker. Honestly, I’d like to see him in more movies; he’s extremely talented. And the award for Most Surprising Performance goes to Chris Pine for the simple fact that I did not know he could sing (and for all I knew, this was going to be another Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman miscasting debacle), but he actually wasn’t too bad. In fact, if they wanted to slip a musical number into Star Trek Beyond (the next Star Trek movie), I wouldn’t complain.

Oh, and I wanted to mention how I impressed I was that they included more of the original Cinderella story than you usually see in adaptations of that particular fairytale. By that, I mean they included the parts where her stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to get the slipper to fit so they can marry the prince. That part is usually edited out of most versions, so I was somewhat surprised to see it included.

Would I recommend Into the Woods? Yes, I think I would. I’m not saying you’ll like it, but I think you should at least give it a chance.

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