Film review for Disney‘s Into the Woods, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, and Chris Pine–now playing in theaters.
[SPOILER ALERT: Proceed with caution, there are major plot spoilers below.]
A Witch I Finally Like, A Pinch of Pedophilia, and A Polyamorous Prince
Basically, several fairytale characters go into the woods to try and make their wishes come true. The Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) want a child, which basically forces them into the interwoven stories of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). They all dance to the woods to achieve their goals and in the process, meet each other, share awkward and hilarious encounters, sing, get what they wanted and live happily ever after…
…OH, BUT I LIED. During the second half of the movie everything starts to go wrong. The Giant’s Widow (Frances de la Tour) comes down a random second beanstalk and she’s out for the blood of her husband’s murderer (Jack). So Giant’s Widow is angry, vengeful, and bent on destroying the whole kingdom.
Since the kingdom is under attack, everyone heads back into the woods, and there, things go from bad to worse (e.g. Prince Charming (Chris Pine) cheats on Cinderella with the Baker’s Wife; the Baker’s Wife, upon realizing her mistakes and repenting, falls off a cliff. At the end of it all, we slay the Giantess and band together as a storybook community to regroup and move forward.
I told you things were interesting! Let me tell you some of what I really like:
1. I’m surprised by how dark the film got. They leave in a lot of the Grimms’ fairytale details (e.g. the cutting of the feet for Cinderella’s slipper and the blinding of Rapunzel’s prince). This is not necessarily the happy-go-lucky Disney we might expect.
3. Aunty Meryl is EVERYTHING as the kinda-sorta-wicked-yet-not-so-wicked/ugly-turned-bad-turned-back-to-ugly Witch. She’s the only character I actually live for. The Witch is about her mission from the beginning and, in my opinion, is completely justified in everything she does.
4. Cinderella is brunette for a change, and Anna Kendrick is hilarious in the role!
Here’s what I don’t like so much:
1. I think Disney should have fully committed to the film by making the movie PG-13 and including everything from the play, instead of giving us a somewhat standard, watered-down, HEA ending.
2. Johnny Depp is 100% the bae, but in this movie he makes an appearance as the big, bad, [kind of rapey] wolf. We all know the original story but, goodness! I couldn’t tell if he wanted to eat Red Riding Hood or molest her, especially since Little Red was, maximum, 12 years old. They take the whole predator thing too far in relation to rest of the movie. If the film was PG-13 this might have been acceptable…maybe…
3. Prince Charming is totally lecherous! He doesn’t even hesitate before stepping out on Cinderella and he has no regrets.
Overall, this is a funny movie… and I suppose that once we get past the pied pedo and the charming, cheating prince, we receive a few useful platitudes.
While I do enjoy aspects of Into the Woods, I would say that most can wait until it’s available for blu-ray/dvd/digital download to check it out yourself.
Did you see Into the Woods? What did you think? Share your thoughts with us in comments!
[Featured Image Source: Into the Woods Disney]