Subscribe

'Into the Woods,' starring Meryl Streep, stays true to stage version

This movie musical never degenerates into a false wholesomeness and the large cast is for the most part up to the task, with actors James Corden, Emily Blunt, and Meryl Streep in particular turning in great performances.

  • close
    'Into the Woods' stars Meryl Streep.
    Peter Mountain/Disney Enterprises, Inc./AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine 1987 musical “Into the Woods” has been transferred to the screen by director Rob Marshall with most of its complexities and light-dark tonalities intact. Rumor had it this Disney production would bland out the show’s richness, but this turns out not to be the case. Although its first hour is more stunning than its second, this is a movie musical that, for a change, never degenerates into a false wholesomeness. It’s one of the rare musicals that both children and adults can enjoy, though for somewhat different reasons. Children will delight in the vast potpourri of classic fairy tales that have been mashed together; adults will appreciate the wisdom and moral reckonings in the retellings.

The cast is large and for the most part up to the task. James Corden and Emily Blunt are wonderful as the village baker and his wife, who are childless due to the curse placed upon them (long story) by the blue-haired Wicked Witch, played and sung with ravishing zest by Meryl Streep, looking like she’s having the time of her life. Anna Kendrick (a bit vanilla for my taste) is Cinderella, who, in this version of the tale, purposely leaves behind her glass slipper for the Prince (Chris Pine) to find. The Prince is a fatuous twit whose best line comes when he confesses, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”

Among the large cast is also Johnny Depp’s somewhat underused zoot-suited Wolf, Tracey Ullman as the overbearing mother of Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), and Lilla Crawford as a precocious Red Riding Hood. Most of Sondheim’s score, one of his best, is retained, with full justice done to such classics as “Children Will Listen" and "Stay With Me." Grade: B+ (Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK