#5 INTO THE WOODS (10-1-15)
Starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Cordon, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp.
Adapted by James Lapine (from his and Stephen Sondheim script), directed by Rob Marshall.
124 minutes long.
What if the worlds of Cinderella, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood collided in a new fairy tale, that sees a baker and his wife sent on a quest by a witch to find four items – a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure of gold that when combined will lift a curse that has left the couple childless and the witch ugly, crooked and ancient. That's the premise of Into The Woods, or at least the first half of the movie. The second half deals with that age old fairy tale meme, 'what happens after our multiple heroes and heroines all get their happily ever afters?'
Into The Woods is a fairly entertaining movie with a good cast, some funny moments, clever lyrics and enjoyable music, although you won't be humming any of the songs, of which the best is an extremely funny duet between the two Princes as they try to out sing each other on a waterfall.
This is Rob Marshall's third cinematic musical after Nine and Chicago and it's clear that his background as a choreographer and as a director of Broadway musicals easily makes him capable of controlling this massive and rambling story. The first half, or the bit up to "They all lived happily ever after." is the most entertaining and was certainly enough for me, I was happily reaching for my coat when it occurred to me that there was more to come, much, much more to come! And sadly I sort of lost interest, I just didn't think the film really needed it, from then on the story is wholly new as the characters from the first five stories must overcome a new threat with revenge on her giant mind, which will also lead to a happy ending but not in the way you might imagine.
I can't say I'm a huge fan of musicals, there's a few i love, Singing in the Rain, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago but the recent musicals have left me deeply unmoved and I truly hated the awful Lesile Miserable so this one came as a pleasant surprise by not being as remotely hateful or dreadful as that later one nor, sadly, as memorable as the formers.