Benjamin Maio Mackay
Into the Woods - 4 Stars
Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick shine in big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods!
Into the Woods intertwines the plots of several Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. When a Baker and his Wife learn a Witch has cursed them childless, they must embark into the woods to find the objects required to break the spell and begin a family.
The casting is of this film is quite varied James Cordon and Emily Blunt play the Baker and the Baker’s wife. They both have strong acting abilities, they work very well together and have great comic timing, but they’re singing abilities aren’t that strong and there are some songs where you can hear the strain in the voices.
The two children of the piece Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford are both superb as Jack and Little Red Riding Hood. They’ve both obviously been trained in musical theatre and they both carry the weight of acting alongside the megastars of the piece and their singing is often better than some of the leads!
Anna Kendrick is outstanding as Cinderella and her performance of the song “On The Steps of The Palace” is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. The two Princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) are both superb and their shared song “Agony” is one of the funniest songs of the film.
Johnny Depp is way over billed for his role in the film, his screen time lasts an entirety of 5 minutes and his one song proves he doesn’t have the vocals for the role. However, he certainly has nailed the personality and characteristics of the wolf.
Meryl Streep is superb, she steals the whole film and her songs “Stay With Me,” and “Last Midnight” are performed outstandingly. She is certain to get an Oscar for this performance!
The film looks visually wonderfully, the colours and tones are representative of the atmosphere of the scenes and songs, and Rob Marshall has done a great job of directing the musical numbers. The film is pieced together quite well and the costume designer of this film is sure to take home an Oscar in 2015!
Diehard fans of the original musical will notice many cuts and changes from the original. These are obviously disappointing, but the film still hangs together quite well. There are some outstanding members of the ensemble cast and this movie is sure to nab a few Oscars early next year!
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Into the Woods is released in Australia on January 8.
Thanks to Walt Disney Entertainment for an advanced screening!