Film Review: Into The Woods

Into The Woods

Rob Marshall’s musical fairy tale Into The Woods is an entertaining watch which should satisfy fantasy fans.

Longing to have a child, a baker and his wife are tasked by a witch to retrieve enchanted items from different fairy tales. If they can procure these items on time, the curse of their family tree will be lifted…

An adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into The Woods sticks faithfully to its musical theatre roots. Rather than a film littered with musical numbers, much of the film’s dialogue is encompassed by talk-singing.

Rob Marshall directs Into The Woods with confidence. It is clear that he is having fun with the musical genre. The film is well paced, and has a winning mix of jauntiness and feeling.

Into The Woods is a story of two parts. The first part stays true to the fairy tale tradition. Appearances are of classic fairy tales, albeit with a hint of subversion. The second part of the film turns much of what came before on its head. Into The Woods plays with what viewers expect to happen in these well known tales, producing a musical that may surprise viewers unfamiliar with the source material.

Themes of identity and morality permeate Into The Woods, the latter being very typical of the fairy tale genre. The film plays with character archetypes, subverting some well-known characters with amusing or surprising results.

Production values in the film are good. At times, Into The Woods has the feel of a theatre set; in keeping with its origins and fantasy elements. Special effects are good, as is the art direction. Meryl Streep appears to be having a ball with her camp portrayal, whilst Anna Kendrick is well cast in the young maiden role. Chris Pine is also a wonderfully outlandish prince.

A must-see for musical fans, Into The Woods is glimmer of fun and frivolity for a grey January.