The Movie: 7/10
I had a good time. I laughed much. I didn’t love the songs much. I had a good time. Is that enough of a review? Probably not:)
Into The Woods, a musical fairy tale collage, was not a movie I was looking forward to watching. I must be honest, musicals kind of turn me off most of the time. Yes, The Wizard of Oz is my all time favorite movie, but that’s beside the point. I spent most of my 47 years not even thinking of it as a musical, denial maybe. As for our witchy wicked tale of characters we all know, I now admit, I really did like it. The more I think about it the more I remember the best bits and pieces.
The story is a combination of best known characters, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc. I might have forgotten one or two, but those are the main ones. I won’t say it’s a modern take, that just sounds obnoxious. It’s a different way to tell their stories, which is pretty satisfying. There are things about the movie that bug the shit out of me, that’s just how it goes. Johnny Depp, come on!! What is this guy thinking lately? I know, he’s a character actor, but he’s turned into a caricature of himself and it’s kind of disappointing. I get it, he’s an artist, a performer, a theatrical whatever, but as the wolf he’s kind of boring and samey same as so many other characters he plays through the years.
Other than Depp being Depp, the cast is pretty awesome. I am neutral or fond of everyone else, which is a good thing. Streep, of course. Emily Blunt, yes, awesome. Anna Kendrick is good and suited for the tough job of making Cinderella not quite so sweet and perfect after all. The main guy, whose name I do not know, and probably won’t ever, is really good. It’s all very acty and stage oriented, it was a play after all, so it brings out a certain something in each person..oh wait wait wait..Chris Pines, terrible horrible cheapens the whole thing with his over-ripe performance of a performance or whatever he was doing. I think people now think, “Oh it’s Captain Kirk, I can’t tell him he’s being crappy.” Which is too bad because he’s quite good, just not in Into The Woods. Maybe I missed the point of his style or something, but no one else in the whole thing was quite so, Piney.
As for the songs, whatever. I am not a musical person, so as I sit here trying to remember any of the tunes all I can think of, “Do you want to build a snowman? It doesn’t have to be a snooowmaann.” and I’m pretty sure that’s not this. I guess there was a couple of moments when Streep sings some home truths to them and Depp (yes even Depp got a bit right) sang some tempting tune for Red Riding Hood, but other than that I’m not impacted by the music.
Overall I had fun, it was fun, I laughed and smiled and it filled a niche somewhere in my movie watching brain where fairy tales have never quite had their chance to flourish. I recommend it for a Saturday afternoon of movie watching delight.
- Never Before Seen Sondheim Original: She’ll Be Back (5 Minutes) – Sondheim wrote this deleted song for Streep and here she performs it. If your a fan of Into The Woods this is worth the admission price alone.
- The Cast As Good As Gold (10 Minutes) – Marshall and the cast talk about the casting process, and as an added bonus Tracey Ullman talks about a cow.
- Deeper Into The Woods (30 Minutes) – A four-part making of documentary that is pretty solid if not a little short. It is broken down into four parts “From stage to screen” “The magic of the woods” “Designing The Woods” and “The costumes of the woods”
- Filmmaker Commentary – Director Rob Marshall and Producer John Deluca discuss the making of the film. Lots of little tidbits of info here that Sondheim fans will not want to miss.
- Music & Lyrics (54 Minutes) – An easy way to skip to the songs in the movie with added Karaoke lyrics to make any party go with a bang.
- DVD & Disney Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
Such a boring cover for such a fun flick, what a shame. I would not have this poster. The menu is themed slightly, but still not that interesting.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Into The Woods is a stunning looking Blu-Ray transfer from the folks over at Disney. The 1080P AVC encode really makes the film shine, most of the movie takes place in the woods (duh) and also mostly at night usually this would be a problem but here everything is visible even under the worst lighting conditions. Close ups are super detailed and macroblocking, banding and noise are nowhere to be seen. Into The Woods looks incredible on Blu-Ray so good that even grandma’s house looks inviting.
The DTS-HD Master 7.1 Audio is also suitably impressive. A musical lives and dies by the quality of the sound and here it is impeccable. LFE action comes near the end of the movie when the giantess turns up and surround effects are used throughout the production. If you enjoy the songs here you are going to enjoy them again and again thanks to the uncompressed audio here which really is impressive.
Overall Score 7/10