What Is It: Into the Woods is the big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1987 musical of the same name that won 5 Tony Awards in two runs on Broadway including Best Score and Best Book. When faced with a curse put upon their family by an evil witch, a baker and his wife must venture out into the nearby woods to find four items to break the curse: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. In their journeys through the woods, they meet Jack (of beanstalk fame) who is looking to sell his white cow, Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Granny’s house, Rapunzel whose long blonde hair pulls her prince into her tower, and Cinderella who is dressed in gold from head to toe, trying to go to the King’s Festival. It is the people they meet along the way who help them break the curse and who also cause all the terror in the second act, finally facing the repercussions of their decisions they made in their original fairytale endings.
My experience: As a drama nerd in high school, I was a part of a cast of Into the Woods in 2004, so my excitement for this movie has been brewing for a long time. I was very hopeful because of casting decisions like Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife, but also their decision to cast Broadway names like Lilla Crawford as Little Red Ridinghood and James Corden as The Baker. I am so happy that I was not disappointed. Emily Blunt’s vocals absolutely blew me away and she had excellent chemistry with James Corden. Not only that, but the cast and crew of the movie were able to bring all the most-loved parts of the stage production onto the big screen. In the play version, the runtime is 165 minutes with 2 hours of that being only Act One. In the movie version, they managed to cut it down to only 124 minutes and it never felt cut off or felt like it was lagging. That is a tough feat to achieve.
Why You Should See It: If you are a fan of musical theatre, I strongly encourage you to go out and see this movie (if you haven’t already). If you have been a part of a production of Into the Woods, it is a great throwback for you. With someone like Meryl Streep headlining the movie, you would tend to think that all the other actors would fall behind her, but if anything, I feel as if they brought their A-game to their performances and, in some instances, even outshined someone as legendary as Meryl Streep. Emily Blunt’s amazing portrayal of The Baker’s Wife has won her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical and Meryl Streep is right behind her with a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of The Witch. The movie itself has been nominated for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards as well. If you have the chance, you need to get out there and see this movie! I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!
The Future: The movie was released on Christmas Day and will most likely be running for another few months. Please take a day to see it! While there is no sequel to this movie, you can also look for Anna Kendrick in two more musicals in 2015: The Last Five Years with Tony Awards nominee Jeremy Jordan due in February and Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the wildly successful 2012 movie, which is out in theatres this May. And later this year, James Corden will be taking over for Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show on CBS.