Friday, December 26, 2014

Into the Woods (2014)



“I wish, more than anything...”

            I am a big fan of the show Once Upon a Time. I like how all the fairy tale stories and characters are brought together. Magic, in the show, is used for both good and evil. The good and the bad characters struggle with their ability to use magic. As one character has said over and over again throughout the series “Magic always comes with a price.” I have no doubt that the concept for Once Upon a Time came from the Broadway musical Into the Woods. The musical has been made into a movie. In this story characters from different stories come together to learn that magic, either good or bad, comes with a price and they all pay in one way or another.
            The story revolves mainly around a baker and his wife, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella. The Baker and his wife have been married for a few years and have no children. The Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt) desperately wants a child. The Baker cannot stand to see his wife so upset but he has some trepidation about being a father since his walked out on him. The Witch (Meryl Streep) from next door comes barging in. She tells the couple the reason they cannot have any children is because she put a curse on the Baker’s father. The father came into the Witch’s garden years before and stole from her. The Witch’s mother had told her to never pick the magic beans. The father had taken the magic beans and the Witch turned to her ugly self. Because of this theft, the Witch made sure anyone in that house would never be able to have children. But, she tells the couple, the curse can be broken. They need to find a red cape, hair the yellow color of corn, a cow as white as milk, and gold colored shoes. The Baker has to go into the woods to find what he needs. His wife wants to go but he tells her to stay behind. Before he leaves they find the magic beans in the pocket of his jacket that had once belonged to his father.
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            Little Red Riding Hood had stopped in the Baker’s shop on her way to her grandmother’s in the woods. She helps herself to some cookies and bread and is on her way. In the woods a wolf (Johnny Depp) tries to tempt her to come with him. He wants to eat her. As much as Red would like to go with him to pick flowers and do other things she cannot stray from the path to her grandmother’s. Of course you know the wolf makes it to the grandmother’s eats the grandmother. In this version the wolf does eat both the grandmother and the girl but they are saved by the Baker.
            Jack and his mother are very poor. Their cow Milky White has not given them any milk. His mother (Tracy Ullman) makes him go through the woods to the next town to sell the cow. He comes across the Baker and his wife who refused to be left alone. The Baker’s Wife talks Jack into giving them the cow in exchange for some beans. Of course the beans are magic and the next day there is a large beanstalk next to his house. He climbs up and steals three large gold coins from the giants. He finds the Baker in the woods to buy back his cow but the cow dies.
            Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) lives with her step-mother and two step-sisters. There is a festival at the palace that she desperately wants to go to. The cruel step-mother and sisters make her clean up in the hopes of possibly going and then cruelly tell her no. Cinderella decides to go to her mother’s grace under a large tree in the woods. She tells her mother she wants to go to the festival. The mother comes to her daughter and grants the wish. Cinderella is dressed in a beautiful gold dress with matching gold shoes. She dances the night away with the prince (Chris Pine). Then she takes flight like she is frightened into the woods. She gets nervous and runs away all three nights of the festival. The prince, each night, runs after the beautiful girl. Each time she runs away Cinderella crosses paths with the Baker’s Wife who desperately wants her shoes.
            Everyone gets their wishes eventually but there comes a price even for the Witch.
            The cast was fantastic. Meryl Streep is just incredible in whatever she does. She is Meryl Streep she can do anything! She actually looked gorgeous in all blue when the Witch got her beautiful looks back. Anna Kendrick was brilliant. Her Cinderella was perfect. Emily Blunt I just adore the more I watch her in movies. Her singing voice was fantastic I had no idea she could sing. She was perfect in her role because she can go from doing drama to comedy flawlessly. Johnny Depp is not in the movie very long but he was the only one who could have played the Wolf it was almost as though it was made for him to do. James Cordon as the Baker was adorable. He and Emily Blunt were paired wonderfully they worked so well. Tracy Ullman is not in the movie too long either and she was brilliant in her few scenes. Chris Pine… I have issues with him in general so I was not thrilled with his character. He did a song with another prince called “Agony” and let me tell you it was pure agony to sit through.
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            Into the Woods is a type of movie that drives me crazy. It started off well and then the last like half hour just went in a totally different direction and it blew the whole thing. If you see the movie you will know exactly the scene I am talking about. Ugh, the last half hour drove me nuts! It was literally a WTF moment. So many things happened so suddenly and out of nowhere that, to me, just messed up the whole movie. I think Once Upon a Time takes this type of queue from the movie. So many times has the show done something good for one of their characters (especially the Evil Queen who I adore. They always screw with her) and then messed everything they had built for the one character, brought them down and changed them out of the blue.
            Besides the poor ending Into the Woods was not terrible. I did not even know that it was a musical so that surprised me a bit when it started. The songs were good, the acting was perfection, the sets and costumes were gorgeous, and the direction was really good. Into the Woods is worth seeing at least once because of the cast.