What Happens in the Woods Should Stay Off the Screen

Fellow moviegoers and theatre geeks alike, if you want to endure two hours and four minutes of utter disappointment, go see Into the Woods.

For an Oscar-nominated film, Into the Woods is extremely unfulfilling. While the movie did stay true to its musical theatre roots by having a vivacious cast and beautiful atmosphere, it seems as though a certain “wow” factor is missing.

The cast ably performed all of their roles, but nothing appears to be exciting or new about Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical-turned-movie. Much like when Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was brought to the big screen, it was clear that Sondheim wanted very little to change in its Hollywood debut.

Having participated in a production of Into the Woods in earlier years and having seen the original stage production on film, it was hard sitting through this film. Purists, like myself, will have a hard time getting over the cutting of some musical numbers that add value to the show. For example, “I Guess This is Goodbye/Maybe They’re Really Magic” was completely scrapped from the film. For those of you who may be confused, this is the song Jack sings to his cow Milky White as he sells her to the Baker and his wife and is directly followed with a musical argument between the couple. That whole number is full of so much emotion that the film so desperately needed.

Anna Kendrick is by far the most depressed-looking Cinderella that Hollywood has ever seen. She barely smiled throughout the film and it was hard to get that chipper, princess personality that Cinderella is supposed to possess. Her prince, played by Chris Pine, had twice the personality she did, and it made for the most enjoyable scene in the entire movie.

“Agony,” performed by Pine and Billy Magnussen, Rapunzel’s Prince, is probably the most exciting part of the entire film. Not only is the number comedic in nature, as each prince expresses their sorrow for not being able to obtain their princess, it actually appears as though they are really feeling those emotions.

As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, they were honestly not that bad. Emily Blunt is brilliant as the Baker’s Wife, and she too is able to express her sincerest feelings on screen, especially during her solo “Moments in the Woods.” Blunt’s counterpart, Meryl Streep, is not as successful as the young British actress.

This is definitely not one of Streep’s more memorable performances, and unless Hell freezes over, she is not getting that Oscar. Bernadette Peters, who originally played the role of “The Witch,” should have been hired to do the role herself. Streep’s performance is passable, but nothing beats the original.

Not only are some the performances subpar, but two entire characters are completely missing: the Narrator and the Mysterious Man, who are usually performed by the same actor in the show, did not make the cut. The movie could have used the snarky remarks made by the narrator and the Mysterious Man’s song in the second act to add more emotion to make up for some of the actors lacking emotional appeal.

But more positive notes of the film include an adorable rendition of “Giants in the Sky,” sung by Daniel Huttlestone, Jack, as he jumps all over the trees telling the story of his encounter atop the beanstalk. Also, the transition between Acts I and II is beautifully done and hardly noticeable.

However, if you’re one who is intolerant of songs and characters being cut, or a die-hard Meryl Streep fan, stay home.

IMAGES TAKEN from collider.com

IMAGES TAKEN from screenrant.com