If ever there was a movie suited for a Broadway production this is it. The entire time I sat through Into the Woods, I kept thinking to myself, this has to be on Broadway. The singing, the acting, the colorful costumes - even Johnny Depp as a dapper wolf.
This will be most confusing to young children because it is a collision of the Brother Grimm's tales. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Jack -as in the beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), the Baker and his wife (James Cordan and Emily Blunt), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) are all brought together - in the woods - thanks to the evil witch played brilliantly by Meryl Streep. Oh there are also two princes played by Billy Magnussen and Chris Pine who provide the only outlandish kitz in the movie when they sing a duet professing their love for Cinderella and Rapunzel, in what best could be described as a SNL skit.
Cinderella's mother is played by Christine Baranski in her best form. And I could on and on with the cast. It was as if someone said Rob Marshall is directing a movie about a big fairy tale with Meryl Streep as the wicked witch and the cream d'la creme of all actors ran quickly into the woods hoping to get a part.
The movie is fast paced. The music is good. The costumes and set designs are marvelous. It has been nominated for several Golden Globes and already won many other film festival awards. This film will receive many Academy nods and even in the strong field this year, I expect it will finish top in many categories - the music, the cast, the set, the costumes, etc.
Yes, I suggest you and your imagination run into the woods. Every once in awhile it does us good to return to the land where once upon a time good and evil were very clear, and good won every time and everyone lived happily ever after.