INTO THE WOODS | MOVIE REVIEW

Cannot wait for this one – the cast just makes my knees wobble, the goddess playing a witch, Meryl Streep herself, let loose and having abundant fun, Blunt, Pine, Depp, Kendrick and Corden – and a musical to boot, my gayness is buzzing with vibe right now :). Bring it on!! INTO THE WOODS is releasing on January 8th with thanks to Disney, it is rated PG and runs for 125mins. Kernel Emma had the joy of attending this one and she breaks into song with her review below………..all the best………….JK.

 

INTO THE WOODS MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
INTO THE WOODS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

REVIEW BY EMMA BISHOP

Having opened the year with the highly-successful animated musical Frozen, Disney has succeeded once again; this time in creating a film rich with depth, while still leaving its audiences humming a beautifully crafted (and catchy) song as they leave the cinema. With its elaborate visual aesthetic and break out performances from its effervescent junior leads; INTO THE WOODS weaves together the classic Brother’s Grimm fairy tales with a modern and dark twist! While it’s almost impossible not to be excited about a film with the likes of Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, this is no doubt a collaborative production which will pick up its fair share of awards for its incredible imagery and costume design. With its pleasantly realistic and yet highly entertaining storyline and its strong (very musically talented) cast, INTO THE WOODS is Les Mis for children and is nostalgic for a more mature audience too. Fitting perfectly into the summer holiday slot, this is a film which will be a delight for parents and children alike!

 

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INTO THE WOODS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BAKER (JAMES CORDEN) AND WITCH (MERYL STREEP)

 

INTO THE WOODS begins with a humble baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who are cursed by a witch (Meryl Streep) taking away their ability to have a child of their own. In order to break the curse, the pair must travel into the woods in search of a number of items selected from the various Grimm tales. Along their journey the pair encounters Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, who are all on a journey of their own. Being a musical, the film maintains a dynamic and exciting pace in its initial half as each of the fairytales begin to intercept. While these are familiar stories Marshall is successful in creating characters with depth whose realistic and cautious approach is slightly more refreshing than the clichéd norm. INTO THE WOODS ventures into a much darker realm in its latter half as the characters learn to be careful for what they wish for. The consequences which ensue from these ill-informed wishes are much darker than those reminiscent of the books read in my childhood – or perhaps my level of understanding at a younger age. Vaguely exploring themes of adultery and subtle eroticism, INTO THE WOODS touches on some adult themes, however these sit safely below the surface. In addition to its exploration of realism, the film is fantastic in its use of parody. A truly hilarious (slightly homo-erotic) duet between Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen will not disappoint and will be my fondest memory of the film by far.

 

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INTO THE WOODS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CINDERELLA’S PRINCE (CHRIS PINE)

 

This is a film which is exceptionally well cast and it was very exciting to see Emily Blunt and Chris Pine, in particular, in musical roles. If any of you have seen Pitch Perfect you will know Anna Kendrick is extremely vocally talented and her performance as Cinderella sees her hitting some pretty incredible high-notes. In addition, INTO THE WOODS serves as an exciting platform for its younger talent who will no doubt go on to achieve great things. Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood is stunning and best comparable to Veruca-Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with her sassy confidence! Similarly Daniel Huttlestone (made famous by his award-winning role in Les Mis) is vocally seamless and equally successful in his acting as Jack. With such a plethora of younger talent, what at times is lacking from the narrative is made up for in musical entertainment. I would have been more offended by the obscurity of the hideous giant coming down the beanstalk, had the story not been framed with such a beautiful soundtrack (which people were singing along to as they made their way out of the cinema).

 

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INTO THE WOODS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | WITCH (MERYL STREEP)

 

It’s never easy adapting from stage to screen however Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine have done a fabulous job, not only in casting but in the fluidity and gracefulness of the screenplay. The set design, in particular of the inner-woods, is equally theatrical and haunting. With a beautiful palate of vibrant colour, the costume design and cinematography come together to create such a stunning picture which is nicely juxtaposed with dark colours in relevant scenes.  This is a film with a large production value and this is particularly apparent in the elaborate set design. At times the characters are quite literally lost in the woods, as the stunning backdrop takes focus away from the storyline. The execution came close to being perfect, however the ending felt quite random and I didn’t feel entirely satisfied. I doubt this is a feeling which will be reciprocated by younger audiences and for that reason it will certainly succeed in the box office. Taking on a satirical and darker approach to classic fairytales is an impressive feat and I do hope that it proves to be a success. I would have enjoyed a darker, more Burton-style approach but in understanding this is a film for children, I know this has its limitations.

INTO THE WOODS is a step-forward in changing the cinema-experience for audiences. We are brought into the story, we share experiences and interact alongside characters and we just can’t help but sing-along. Visually, vocally and stylistically stunning, this film is the next best thing to attending a live production. Cue the car-duet YouTube videos and purchase the colouring books for Christmas, there is no doubt this is a film you will be hearing about for a long time!

 

4 Pops