Movie Review: Into the Woods

Before I saw Into the Woods, I knew that it was based on the Broadway musical of the same name, and has a fantastic cast of A-listers. I didn't know that it was going to be so whimsical and funny, though, at least for its first half, and I ended up enjoying it a lot.

There are four or five fairy tales that converge in this film. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) wishes to go to the festival with her stepmother (Christine Baranski) and two evil stepsisters (Lucy Punch and Tammy Blanchard). Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is trying to make it safely to her grandmother's house, but Mr. Wolf (Johnny Depp, in a fantastically creepy role) tries to detain her. Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) lives with his mother, who is trying to make ends meet, and she makes him sell the family cow, Milky White, because it has stopped producing milk, even though it's his best friend. Finally, the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) wish to have a child, only to find out that The Witch (Meryl Streep) cursed The Baker's family with barrenness a while back; the witch, however, offers to break the curse for him, as long as he can get her a few items she needs.

Meryl Streep steals the show here, but the rest of the leads, notably Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt, are also outstanding. I already knew that some of the actors involved were great singers - Kendrick showed off her singing skills in Pitch Perfect, and Streep in Mamma Mia! and other movies - but I had no idea that Chris Pine, as Cinderella's prince, is actually a good singer. Johnny Depp has a short but extremely memorable role too, as Mr. Wolf, and everyone in this movie sings at some point or another.

Yes, see this movie, but there are some things you should know. The beginning of this movie was hilarious, and you can tell it's poking fun at itself, too, which is always fun. About halfway in, however, it turns rather dark; because of this, I'd recommend it for children age 9-10 or up (it will definitely depend on your child, though - as another blogger noted, if your child was fine with Maleficent then they'll be fine with this one). I definitely enjoyed the first half of the movie more than the second, as there were one or two plot aspects that never got wrapped up, but overall the film is worth seeing. I would call Into the Woods "unique" (also "zany" or "unusual") and it's a refreshing addition to the box office this December.

Into the Woods is in theaters today, December 25th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 124 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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