Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” finally hit the big screen on Christmas Day, some 27 years after it hit the Broadway Stage. I’m guessing the wait will seem worth it for fans of the musical. Rob Marshall, who had such a smash with his Oscar winning “Chicago”, directs an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt, and does his best to wrangle the terrific special effects that such a jumble of Fairy Tales requires. All the regulars are here: Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, with the addition of new characters, the Baker and his Wife, but “Into the Woods” has a very un-Disney like, dark underbelly. What begins as a childhood collection of tales becomes a more complicated collection of adult themes including innuendo, infidelity and death. Nonetheless, the intricate music and words of Sondheim brings the character’s stories to life and the actors all excel as singers: special kudos should go to Anna Kendrick, Meryl, and Emily Blunt for their singing skills. Meryl Streep deserves the many Best Supporting Actress nominations she’s sure to get with her portrayal of a very nasty witch who still can generate a touch of sympathy. There are some plot developments with Emily Blunt’s barren Baker’s Wife that proved problematic for me, but I’m thinking that’s the sort of thing that created such a delay for a Cinematic Greenlight, but I’d say overall the wait was indeed worth it.
My GPA: 3.5