Into The Woods
Cert (UK): PG
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and Christine Baranski
Running Time: 124 Minutes
This is a film adaptation from stage to screen, although it has been toned down for younger audiences. The stage version includes much darker scenes and whilst the film evolves the more humorous moments is still includes the interlocking story of a variety of much loved Disney characters.
Into The Woods of course has an ensemble cast who take on the story. As the result of a curse from a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are made childless as the spell makes them barren. To remove this curse they are given just three days to venture into the forest to find the ingredients that the witch needs to reverse the spell and restore her beauty: a milk-white cow, hair as yellow as corn, a blood-red cape, and a slipper of gold. Within the woods they meet Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone); each has one ingredient needed to fulfil their wish.
For me, Into The Woods was a pleasure to watch, not only due to a great screenplay and cast, but because director Rob Marshall doesn't take away the fact that this story is intended for theatre. He directs as if you are watching the story on stage, bringing it to life and giving it an artistic feel. This isn't a toe tapping, hair flicking, choreographed musical; if you're a fan of Rob Marshall you may expect this with his previous films Chicago and Nine. Instead he seems to let the cameras run and have the cast improvise their emotions when singing, which gives the film its emotive moments. Although the character driven story revolves around Disney characters it is in no way just a film for the kids. While children will enjoy the interaction of all these characters crossing stories and the funny moments, adults will enjoy it just as much and I believe appreciate the story slightly more.
There are some interesting casting choices which at first glance you think, what!? As James Corden, (yes the guy from Gavin and Stacey), has been cast as the Baker, who sings! But he is fantastic in this role. He is in no way upstaged by these other Hollywood actors and as the leading man he makes you forget any other 'funny man' roles he has done, which a great actor does. Meryl Streep of course plays the Witch amazingly, fusing comedy within her mean demeanour, but may have been slightly upstaged by Emily Blunt, the Bakers Wife, who brings humour and great acting on-top of a really good singing voice. A scene stealing moment is from the Wolf (Johnny Depp) who completely transforms into character. There is not one weakness within the casting as all supporting roles bring each character to life and drives the narrative forward for great viewing.
Into The Woods, is a vigorous, fun-filled entertaining film for both children and adults. Its Golden Globe nominations are truly worthy and I recommend this film for you all to see, so go and see it now!
Written by Harley Gower.