Into the Woods

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Watch this only if A) you thought the Hugh Jackman version of Les Misérables was the best thing ever, or B) you want to see Disney stomp all over the classic fairy tales you loved as a kid.  This is dire, with absolutely no redeeming features, a mash-up of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack & the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood, and is also, for some reason, a musical.  I’m shocked that so many big Hollywood names got dragged into it.  Now I don’t have anything against musicals in general, but I do like the songs to either move the story forward in some way, be clever, witty or at the very least, funny.  Regrettably, these are boring, dissonant, completely stop the action (one of Cinderella’s inane songs actually stops time and you’ll feel the same while you wait for this to be over) and worse, don’t even have the nerve to get stuck in your head.  They seem pointless except to show off how well the lyricist can rhyme and if you ask me, that’s a terrible reason for a musical.  Outside of a specific song, is there any point to having characters sing their lines instead of speaking them like a normal person other than to annoy the audience?

With a run time of over two hours, it’s a huge overly bloated “story” that seems to exist for no other purpose than to show how you could theoretically attach all of the fairy tales to one another.  If that had resulted in something even remotely interesting, I would have been OK with it, but all it did was make a big mess and ruin the Happily Ever Afters.  Chris Pine even added insult to injury by infusing his performance as Prince Charming with his best William Shatner impression – maybe it was a delayed reaction to playing Captain Kirk.  Because there were so many stories trying to be told, there is practically no character development and as a result, you care very little what happens to any of them.  Anna Kendrick plays a Cinderella inspired by some of the older versions of the fairy tale, which could have been great but instead but comes across as a wishy-washy twit who keeps inexplicably running away from the Prince.  Granted, the William Shatner Prince Charming would make me run away too, but that isn’t the point.  Emily Blunt and James Corden play a village baker and his wife who make a deal with Meryl Streep‘s witch in order to have a child.  Little Red Riding Hood is a petty thief and Johnny Depp flashes by as a bizarre wolf/human hybrid.  Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) is a daft nitwit who lets down her hair for absolutely anyone and bratty Jack commits ecological terrorism, grand larceny and murder but is still somehow a hero (Sir Terry Pratchett would approve!).  Christine Baranski was a brilliant casting choice for Cinderella’s evil stepmother and this is the fourth time Lucy Punch has played a stepsister (type cast much?).  But both were gypped by too small roles and thus their comedic genius was utterly wasted.

This movie will make you want to shoot the very next person who sings the line ‘into the woods’, makes Prince Charming a philandering jerk, has a peculiar affinity for killing characters in abrupt ways and gives the impression that despite the Woods being purportedly enormous and dangerous, they are absolutely crawling with people who keep conveniently running into one another.  There was an extreme deficiency of logic that I found infuriating and absolutely no satisfying conclusion to any of the story lines.  I suffered through the entire thing thinking surely there must be some point to all of it, but alas, there was not.  To quote my fabulous Aunt Denice, it was ‘absolutely ghawstly‘!  Not even Frances de la Tour as the giantess or Tracey Ullman as Jack’s mother could save this atrocious time-sucking musical disaster.  I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Russell Crowe’s performance in Les Misérables looks like it should have won an Oscar in comparison to this stinker.  Be careful what you wish for, sure, but also be careful what movie you watch and avoid this at all costs!  – BETHANY

For more on this mess of a musical, consult the Internet Movie Database.

The whole kit and caboodle of them.  I’m so annoyed because this movie looked so much better than it was.

Hollywood Queen Meryl Streep as the Witch.  Just don’t ask me why she’s up in a tree.  (Hopefully she was on her way to get a manicure, because one is desperately needed.)

Anna Kendrick‘s Cinderella having an existential crisis because, horrors, she has to make a decision!

Personally, I think this visual of Johnny Depp recoiling in distaste perfectly captures my feelings about this movie.

James Corden‘s baker tries to rob Red Riding Hood of her, uh, hood.  What next, looting an orphanage?

The baker and his wife (Emily Blunt) swindling gullible Jack (Daniel Huttlestone).  What wonderful morals this film has!

Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski and Tammy Blanchard.  At least the costume design in this film was top notch.

    Rapunzel tra-la-la-ing in her tower.  Somebody get that girl some conditioner!

The Wolf’s interactions with Red Riding Hood come skin-crawlingly close to pedophilia territory.  Quite a few of the other story lines have similar inappropriately sexual overtones.

Rapunzel’s Prince and Cinderella’s Prince have a vocal argument about which one of them is in more agony about their lost loves.  It’s precisely as bad as it sounds.

This might be the closest thing this film has to a good line.

Just when you hoped, I mean, thought it was finished, there are still forty minutes to go.  *sigh*

 

The only reason to watch this movie is so you can fully appreciate this gem from Cinema Sins.  Warning, the language employed is a bit, er, colorful.

For those of you who don’t know, Bill Nye the Science Guy was once a part of Seattle’s version of SNL, called ‘Almost Live’.  Here’s a clip of him doing a spot on impression of William Shatner.  It’s alarmingly close to Chris Pine’s performance as Prince Charming.

 

Photos courtesy of Lucamar Productions, Marc Platt Productions and Walt Disney Pictures (unless credited in clickable form)

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