Into The Woods is that rare breed, a movie musical. Based on the Broadway show by Stephen Sondheim, this comedy-drama has a cast full of big names. Meryl Streep headlines as the witch while Johnny Depp plays a bit part as the wolf. Anna Kendrick plays an uncertain Cinderella to Chris Pine’s philandering Prince Charming. James Corden and Emily Blunt play the most original characters, a Baker and his wife.
The movie was released nationwide December 25, 2014. Directed by Rob Marshall, it was nominated for the Golden Globe Best Comedy or Musical. It won the AFI Movie of the Year Award. The movie weaves together many famous fairy tales to create a unique drama. The plot centers on the Baker and his wife who are desperate to have child. When they learn from a witch that they are cursed, they go into the woods, trying to find, or steal, three objects requested by the witch.
During the first half of the movie, things are much as we’ve read in the fairy tales. A young Red Riding Hood is saved from the big bad wolf. Jack sells his cow for magic beans and climbs a beanstalk to steal from a giant. Cinderella is married to a charming prince. The second half reveals a more sinister side to the fairy tales. Jack’s Giant descends on the kingdom. People die. Relationships fall apart. This is not a movie for young children, although many Disney fans may have been misled into thinking that.
The film score, which is available on iTunes, is, at times, lyrical, romantic, and funny. Agony is an hilarious duet between the prince and his brother that becomes a contest over who can protest their love the loudest. Children Will Listen, sung by Meryl Streep, is the show’s best-known song.