Into The Woods(2014)

A review by Shlomoh Sherman
January 17, 2015

Into the Woods (2014)
Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: James Lapine (screenplay), James Lapine (musical)
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman,Emily Blunt
Music, lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Nominated for: 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 29 nominations.
Plot: A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Plot Keywords: cinderella - jack and the beanstalk - little red riding hood - based on stage musical - baker
Genres: Adventure - Comedy - Fantasy - Musical
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: December 25, 2014 (USA)
Also Known As: En el bosque
Filming Locations: Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK
Box Office
Budget: $50,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $31,021,000 (USA) (26 December 2014)
Gross: $107,130,087 (USA) (January 14, 2015)
Company Credits
Production Co: Lucamar Productions, Marc Platt Productions, Walt Disney Pictures
Technical Specs
Runtime: 125 min
Sound Mix: Datasat - Dolby Digital
Color: Color

Most reviews of this movie are good but there are a few that miss the point, stating "this movie is beyond awful" - [December 30 2014 - by kodieauger (Canada)]. My opinion is that Mr kodieauger has to recapture his inner child and see the movie again.

INTO THE WOODS combines the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, woven together by a vengefull witch [mother of Rapunzel]interacting with a baker and his wife who wish to begin a family.

During the first part of the film, the fairy tales that we are familiar with run their usual courses. But then suddenly the stories take a different, grimmer turn in which the characters do not live happily ever after. Jack's beanstalk brings havoc upon the town in which the characters live, Rapunzel has to fight against an overly co-dependent witch mother, Little Red Riding Hood becomes disillusioned when the other characters seem to keep on wanting her to give them something or other of what is hers, and Cinderella's prince turns into a philanderer, causing the death of the baker's wife. When confronted by Cinderella about his unfaithfulness, he simply says, "I was raised to be charming, not faithful."

James Lapine has captured the essence of what the Woods means to the fairy tale characters and what they mean to us. Jack notes that after being in the woods, he is somehow changed, and Red Riding Hood expresses a similar sentiment.

What are the Woods and why do they always capture and captivate our favorite fairy tale people?

The Woods are the antithesis of what our civilization is. Our modern world stands upon the bases of rationality and proof of what is real and actual. Because we have become [understandably] addicted to empiricalism, we have lost the sense of wonder experienced by little people who wander off into the Woods. The woods ARE the world of magic and wonder. The Woods were our original domain where we felt at one with nature. But once we abandoned the Woods, they became the domain of wicthes, elves, fairies, ogres, and all manner of scary creatures. And after all, who are these scary creatures? They are the reappearence of the old gods and heroes of mythology.

The Woods were the home of the pre-Christian, pre-Jewish gods whom our ancestors worshipped and with whom they identified. After we left the Woods, if any humans inhabited them at all, they were the dregs of society, outlaws, servants of the Evil One. Not all of them were Robin Hoods.

The stories missing from the movie are the ones about the old woman who cooks and eats children, a reflex of ancient human sacrifice, and the young girl who awaits the kiss [a euphemism] of the knight who will awaken her, a reflex of ancient phallic and sexual fertility rites. Yes, these all took place in the Woods, away from the safety and sanity of the town or city.

The Grimm Brothers have brought their stories back to us, stories the origin of whiich has been lost in antiquity, stories that began during a time when we still lived in the Woods. And when we left the Woods, the stories were still there to haunt us like ghosts of our ancestors and the beings they worshipped.

But Disney has softened them to make them fit for the consumption of our children; they are the stories which we read to them before they drift off to sleep to dream their own personal fairy tales.

But Jack is not the only one who is changesd by the Woods. The Woods change all of us when they remind us about who we once were, beings at one with nature. We human beings then lived in a world where wolves and snakes could speak with us in our own language, and speaking with us, they gained our trust and changed our lives for better or for worse.

Whatever the negative reviewers have to say, this reviewer urges you to see the movie if for nothing else than the incredibly beautiful music and the Disney extravaganza.

And you may want to take a look at goforthegood1's review, LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE MOVIE INTO THE WOODS, who says "I am a true believer that you can always learn something from most movies." []

Kudos to:
Emily Blunt - a beautiful actress we remember from THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, LOOPER, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and EDGE OF TOMORROW.
Meryl Streep - who always wows us with her performances. The hauntingly lovely STAY WITH ME stands out among the other songs in the score.
Johnny Depp - what can one say? His role in the film is short but Depp always satisfies us with his talent.
Tracey Ullman - a sweet, delightful comedienne whom I did not recognize at first and had to wait for the credits to identify for me.
Stephen Sondheim - who gave us A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park, West Side Story and Gypsy.

Did You Know?

This is Rob Marshall's third directorial musical film. His other directorial musical features being Chicago (2002) & Nine (2009). See for more

Cinderella's shoes get stuck to the stairs but not her feet or dress. See for more

Witch: [singing] You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice. I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the witch. You're the world. See for more

Crazy Credits:
No music plays during the Disney logo. It is also seen through a green filter with no fireworks. Some tree branches are seen in between the castle as well as the moon. See for more

Your Fault Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Performed by Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Lilla Crawford, Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick
See for more

Message Boards:
Recent Posts:
This is Not the Worst Movie Ever, You Just Didn't Understand It - vstodder
Are a lot of people nowadays just too ignorant for Sondheim? - Pamactress
Boring - hovee77
Rapunzel's Hair - nique_31
I think Act II could have been handeled better if... - redwood-writer
Little touches and changes you ABSOLUTELY loved? - kkshoda

Discuss Into the Woods (2014) on the IMDb message boards

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Kendrick  ... Cinderella
Daniel Huttlestone  ... Jack
James Corden  ... Baker t
Emily Blunt        ... Baker's Wife
Christine Baranski  ... Stepmother
Tammy Blanchard  ... Florinda
Lucy Punch        ... Lucinda
Tracey Ullman  ... Jack's Mother
Lilla Crawford  ... Little Red Riding Hood
Meryl Streep  ... Witch
Simon Russell Beale ... Baker's Father
Joanna Riding  ... Cinderella's Mother
Johnny Depp        ... Wolf
Billy Magnussen  ... Rapunzel's Prince
Mackenzie Mauzy  ... Rapunzel

To hear THE GIANTS SONG, Click Here!
To hear STAY WITH ME, Click Here!

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