Into The Woods binds together several fairy tale stories to create a new story. The plot is meant to come across as complex and clever, but honestly it feels derivative, predictable and muddled and far too cynical.
The story follows a whiny Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt), who want to have a child. The reason they can’t have a child is because their neighbor, an evil Witch (Meryl Streep) cursed the Baker’s father because he stole magic beans from her garden. Her curse was that the Baker’s father’s family tree would be barren.
As you might expect, he trades Jack some magic beans for his white cow. He saves Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf. His Wife steals Cinderella’s (Anna Kendrick) slipper. And the golden hair comes from Rapunzel, who was his father’s daughter until she was taken by the Witch and hidden in the tower. Of course, each of these stories is corrupted to a degree and the characters all seem to be randomly roaming the forest as the plot needs.
Why I Liked This Less and Less As It Dragged On
Where do I start about what I hated about this film. How about at the beginning?
The characters are awful too. I hated them all and just didn’t care what happened to them. The Baker was unbelievably whiny. Even worse, because liberals believe intent is what matter, we were supposed to like these people even though they spent their time abusing and defrauding everyone they met because they claimed to feel bad about it. Huh? The Princes (there are two) were gay lounge lizards. Jack was a thug in the body of a child. Red Riding Hood was as wooden as a robot and seemed psychotically cold about death. Cinderella was full of anguished indecision in every scene, but the things she anguished about weren’t things anyone cares about. And all of them, every single one, was self-obsessed. The end result was that the characters came across as rotten, whiny and unpleasant. They aren’t people you want to see succeed... or spend time with.
This is lazy and it’s annoying. It also encourages the actors to engage in melodramatic Broadway acting styles. “Golly gee whiz (swing arm like a newsie).” I find this super annoying. Why? Think of it this way. How sick are you of Johnny Depp playing the same drunk over and over on film these days? This is the same thing... only it’s being done in musical after musical for decades regardless of who the actor is. Talk about annoying!
The writer was an ass too. Three crimes against writing come to mind here in particular. First, it was obvious that the writer carefully avoided doing anything clever for the first four or five hours of the film... ok, it was only 124 minutes, but it felt twice as long. At no point does this writer ever trust the audience to use their brains; everything is spoon-fed to you and served on white bread. Secondly, the writer has insecurity issues. I know this because the story is full of moments where the writer has characters tell you how clever the writing is. If you find yourself doing that, it’s because you suck. And third, the ending is total crap.
All in all, I have to say that this film stunk. The characters are impossible to like. The story is mind-numbingly boring and predictable until the ending, which is random and hateful. The songs are entirely forgettable and derivative. And the story seems intent on making you hate fairy tale characters.
This is Broadway at its worst. Thoughts?