Into The Woods (2014)
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, James Cordon, Johnny Depp and Christine Baranksi.
Synopsis: A kingdom where all fairy tales exist as counter-narratives. The main narrative regards a baker and his wife who have been given a task by a witch so that they can reverse the curse she placed on their family. The counter narratives involve Cinderella, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood.
Personally, I am a lover of theatre, and more so, musical theatre. So when I heard another musical and theatrical movie regarding classic fairy tales and fables was to be released, I was naturally excited. But, unfortunately I was left quite in an awkward state of what I like to call ‘The Neutral Zone’. ‘The Neutral Zone’ is a state I diagnose myself with when a film doesn’t do much, it involves just a nice, procrastinating film that you use to waste your time; generally the film is one you watch once and know you will not buy on dvd or ever watch again.
The story line wasn’t particularly thrilling and it also wasn’t the most boring story line I have come across. The acting was incredible and comic but at the same time the characters and their singing (dare I say it as a thespian) became a bit tedious. Please forgive me if you enjoyed this movie but I was left in ‘The Neutral Zone’ both during, and after watching this film. The actors and their skills were probably the only thing I can say that kept me determined to finish the movie. The cast consisted of actors I adore and who’s many films and characters have forced me to watch their roles numerous times. I mean come on, when you have Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and James Cordon in a movie you think you are in for a real treat don’t you? And don’t get me wrong I was in for the genius, indulgent, comedic and tragic feast that talent like theirs supplies. Meryl Streep, like the classy, amazing actress that she is provides a weirdly, funny performance as the witch who cursed the bakers house because his father stole from her garden and she lost her ‘beauty’ because of his thieving. Her role is enlightening also, because she brings a maternal and protective element to the classic ‘witch’ role through her character’s relationship with Rapunzel. Johnny Depp (who was unfortunately only in the film for a short period of time) starred as the wolf. He never fails to bring a character to life with his vivacious and ingenious approach to any role thrown his way. And James Cordon, who doesn’t love James Cordon and the way he can make you laugh so hard you grow abs and then crush you so completely you cry.
But, the rest was a bit of a bore.
Just when you think the story has ended and everyone lives ‘happily ever after’, another giant has to come and interrupt your short moment of innocent procrastination and force you to watch another half an hour of a seemingly never-ending story line. If I am honest, this is a film I won’t be watching again and won’t be having on my shelf at home. It’s such a shame as there have been so many incredible adaptations of fairy tales and they have all been thrilling transformations of old stories. They had the right cinematic techniques and special effects and the most amazing actors, but the story line seemed to exist as if it was travelling along a plateau and had no major peaks or lows along the way, except that which the actors provided emotionally.
“Stay a child, while you can be a child.” – Witch (Meryl Streep).
© Greta Alise Haley