Highlights of Into The Woods

Posted 7 years ago by myetvmedia

Fairy Tales. Audiences know what they like and censoring fairy tales is not on. Disney has built its reputation on telling children’s tales that have trans-generational, universal appeal. A fine balance is required to successfully pull one off, and there is no secret formula as Warner Bros. discovered the expensive way. Their overly violent reinterpretation of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ had a star director, Bryan Singer, an ensemble cast of well known actors, massive special effects, but “Jack The Giant Slayer” was a spectacular flop. http://myetvmedia.com/film-review/jack-the-giant-slayer-review/. Happily, director-producer Rob Marshall’s adaptation (not remake) of Stephen Sondheim’s 1987 Tony Award-winning musical ‘Into the Woods’ is highly entertaining precisely because it stays true to what a fairy tale should be.

Four of the most popular fairy tales; Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Rapunzel, are cleverly interwoven with ingredients that make many fantasy adventures great; an impossible, time sensitive mission that will require great bravery by the most unlikely heroes, in the face of possibly insurmountable obstacles. “Into The Woods” while a successful fairy tale is thoroughly modern — some subtlety is eschewed in favour of a more literal and contemporary reading of character, metaphoric warts and all. It is a musical (and some people just hate musicals) with exceptional performances rendered by a star powered, ensemble cast led by the incomparable Meryl Streep. Fortunately, Disney has not sanitized Grimm’s fairy tales and each intertwining story has retained its dramatic irony. Scene stealing performances are given by each of the cast. Johnny Depp has created a fiendishly seductive wolf and a performance that has already made some critics uncomfortable; as have performances by the handsome Princes played by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen.

Chris Pine can really croon. His macho role in Star Trek made him famous but those baby blues and amazing looks landed him the ‘handsome prince’ role in the past (Princess Diaries 2). Neurotic, indecisive Anna Kendrick is not the predictable, overly obliging Cinderella we are used to. Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is horribly gullible as is the hapless baker played by James Corden. Emily Blunt, the baker’s wife is a woman whose dreams and realities are at complete odds. She wants a little more adventure in her life than the baker can offer, and then along comes the Handsome Prince (Chris Pine) fascinated by any woman who is a new challenge. He is captivated by mystery and pursuit. His brother (Billy Magnussen) is driven by different desires which will leave him heart broken and blind in the woods. Scene dominating performances are successively given by each of the cast. Impoverished Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) will trade the cow for the beans, giving his mother (Tracy Ullman) reason to be even more anxious about their future. The step sisters (Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch) and their mother (Christine Baranski) with their self absorbed shenanigans could easily step onto the set of ‘Desperate House Wives’ or ‘The Kardashians’. Rapunzel is quite headstrong and has a mind of her own. No wasting away in a tower for her handsome prince to turn up.


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Highlights of Into The Woods

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