30 December 2014

Into the Woods

Title: Into the Woods
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Year: 2014
  • Meryl Streep
  • Emily Blunt
  • Anna Kendrick
  • James Corden
  • Lilla Crawford
  • Daniel Huttlestone
  • Johnny Depp
  • Billy Magnussen
  • Mackenzie Mauzy
  • Chris Pine
  • Christine Baranski
  • Tammy Blanchard
  • Lucy Punch
  • Tracey Ullman

Once upon a time-in a far-off kingdom, there lay a small village at the edge of the woods. And in this village lived a young maiden, a carefree lad, and a childless baker with his wife.

The poor girl's parents had died and now she lived with her stepmother who had two daughters of her own. All three were beautiful of face, but vile and black of heart.

The young lad had no father, and his mother... well, she was at her wit's end.

And then there was a hungry little girl who always wore a red cape...

I love musicals, so I always have favorable expectations whenever any musical is adapted on the big screen. Be that as it may, I have mixed feelings about Into the Woods.

On a positive note, I like how tightly woven the plot is, and how the many different characters in various tales by the Grimm brothers have come together in one place.

The movie also has a superbly talented cast, and the actors have magnificently brought their characters into life. I think most of the actors also did well during the various musical productions.

However, I am not impressed by the songs, and it seemed as if all the songs are just one whole song playing on just one note. It was disappointing, considering that Stephen Sondheim is an acclaimed composer.

I'm even left confused by the lyrics of some of the songs such as Hello, Little Girl and Agony. In particular, the lines sung by the Wolf in Hello, Little Girl seemed as if it had sexual undertones and I felt uncomfortable that it seemed that way.

But there are songs with great lyrics such as Giants In The Sky and I Know Things. Some of the lyrics in Giants of the Sky aptly describes the feelings of someone living in at least two places, or maybe even caught between different cultures. A small section of I Know Things talk about how a person is relieved to know more things than she didn't know before, but at the same time somewhat regretful of the lost innocence.

Jack: (Giants In The Sky)
When you're way up high and you look below
at the world you left and the things you know,
little more than a glance is enough
to show you just how small you are.
When you're way up high and you're on your own
in a world like none that you've ever known,
where the sky is lead and the earth is stone,
you're free, to do whatever pleases you,
exploring things you'd never dare 'cause you don't care,
The roof, the house and the world you never thought to explore.
and you think of all of the things you've seen,
and you wish that you could live in between,
and you're back again, only different than before,

Little Red Riding Hood: (I Know Things)
And I know things now, many valuable things,
that I hadn't known before:
do not put your faith in a cape and a hood,
they will not protect you the way that they should.
and take extra care with strangers,
even flowers have their dangers.
and though scary is exciting, nice is different than good.
Now I know: don't be scared. Granny is right, just be prepared.
Isn't it nice to know a lot! And a little bit not...

I haven't watched Into the Woods musical prior to watching this film so I didn't really know much about it. I thought it was exciting to come into a musical with no preconceived notions such as which songs must be included, or which scenes are necessary, or how the characters are portrayed, etc.

However, in hindsight, it would have been better for me to have at least read up about the musical. If I had known that it had an adult theme, I would have been better prepared for some of the character's dialogues, and some of the scenes in the movie.

Into The Woods