Tom Basham

Into The Woods

In This Just OUT on January 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm

into_the_woods_POSTERI went “Into The Woods” today where Henry David Thoreau wished to live deliberately, and wishes are what this movie is all about. I just wish I would have known this going in.

The Baker (James Corden from “Begin Again“) and his wife (Emily Blunt from “Edge of Tomorrow“) wish they could have a child. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick from “Drinking Buddies“) wishes she could go to the ball. Jack (Daniel Huttlestone from “Les Miserables”) wishes he could sell the family cow for five pounds. Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford in her feature debut) wishes she could have more sweet breads to carry to grandma’s house. Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy from “Brother’s Keeper”) wishes she could leave the tower and find true love. The Witch (Meryl Streep from “The Giver“) wishes to break the curse that stole her beauty. I wish I had an iPhone app for all these Grimm Fairy Tales.

This is not one of those French things where they show you four or five stories going on at the same time with a common theme. This is a true mash-up where good old “beanstalk Jack” runs around with Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. And I almost forgot to mention that most of the dialogue is delivered in song.

This Stephen Sondheim Broadway Musical took 25 years to make it to the big screen. In the hands of Director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), magical things happen, but it still feels like you are watching a stage play. While the songs are lovely, they call more attention to themselves than the story or the characters. A case in point is when the entire theater giggled as the princes pranced around a waterfall.

I do like the whole classic fable thing, and I can handle the cinematic cacophony of characters. I was okay with a few twists, but the ending fell flat, like a giant from the sky. These characters from our childhood are precious, so I don’t like seeing them get abused.

There were some great performances and plenty of things to smile about. Marshall does the best he can to transform the live performance to the silver screen, and I feel I must applaud the effort. For that I must give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. I wish I had seen it on the stage.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:
 https://bashmovies.wordpress.com

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