Into the Woods

At the Movies Blog

No cows were hurt in the filming.

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It was a brilliant idea to combine various fairytales and throw them all together. It was unfortunate that director Rob Marshall couldn’t make this as fun as Chicago was (I always forget, he disappointed me with Memoirs of a Geisha, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and his version of Annie 15 years ago).

Musicals get so popular, too. It’s why the producers of Frozen recently apologized to parents that keep hearing all the songs from that non-stop. Yet the songs in this…they often became operatic and goofy. It was a mash-up of the worst kind, where characters would sometimes speak, and their dialogue would turn into song. I image seeing the Stephen Sondheim piece on stage would be a joyful and chaotic experience, but you can’t have multiple people on screen at once.

There were two songs performed that had the audiences laughing at how bad they were. One of those had the prince (Chris Pine) and his brother singing on a waterfall, looking like Seigfried & Roy in a Wham! video.

Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) plays Cinderella. Kendrick’s always had that awkward mouth when she talks and smiles, but it worked well for this character. The birds she hangs with are a bit nastier than the original. They occasionally peck out the eyeballs of rivals. No wonder Johnny Depp agreed to appear in this!

The story starts with a couple that can’t have kids. A witch (the always reliable Meryl Streep) promises to remove a curse that caused this, if they can collect a few items: a white cow, which conveniently, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) sold for magic beans. His mother (the always hysterical Tracey Ullman) is furious about that. There’s Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), whose yellow hair is another item that’s needed by the witch.

A gold slipper is also required, and guess who has that?

The evil stepmother is played by Christine Baranski, and one of the stepsisters is Lucy Punch. Just having those two names in those parts would’ve been enough to get me interested in this production.

Two other notables in the cast include Jake Gyllenhaal and Emily Blunt. It’s a shame that something that started on the stage in 1987 by composer/lyricist Stephen Sandheim, is just so disappointing on screen decades later.

There were a few funny moments and some interesting set pieces. The film (rated PG), is too dark for kids, and it’s not nearly charming enough for the rest of us.

A few of the special effects were awful.

The entire movie was overproduced, and the film had no heart.

This gets 1 star out of 5.

 

 

 

 

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