Movie: Into The Woods
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Movies adapted from Broadway plays are always a risky endeavor, especially musicals. This one succeeds, for the most part, on its star power and whimsical tongue-in-cheek handling of the story lines. Basically, there are four classic fairy tales interwoven throughout the movie. There is Cinderella, played by Anna Kendrick. Her handsome prince, played by the studly Chris Pine. There is the Jack and the Beanstalk tale with Daniel Huttlestone as the clueless Jack. There is beautiful Mackenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel with the long golden hair, pursued by Billy Magnussen as the other charming prince. And lastly, Little Red Riding Hood, played by young Lilla Crawford, who leads the Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp) on a merry chase through the woods to Grandmother’s house. The straw that stirs the drink, so to speak, is Meryl Streep as the witch who engages with all the characters.
The witch used to be a beautiful woman who was hoodwinked by the father of the town’s baker (James Corden), and cursed to be ugly. The witch can regain her beauty if the baker and his wife (Emily Blunt) can accrue four items by midnight of the third day. And of course during these three days, the fancy ball is taking place, and beanstalks are sprouting into the sky, and all characters keep bumping into each other as they all have their various schemes and desires to pursue. There is not a lot of straight dialogue in this movie, as with Broadway musicals, most of the dialogue gets sung. The songs are better than average, as they come from the talented Stephen Sondheim. Is this a great movie? No, but it is harmless fun, and not a bad way to spend two hours.
Actress To Watch: Lilla Crawford caught my attention as a young actress (14 years old) who may do big things in the future. This is her first movie; previously she played Annie on Broadway.
Best Scene: For the ladies, the two hunky princes, Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, bare their souls (as well as their chests) in a hilarious duet about the perils of love.