Into The Woods
Once upon a Sondheim
Release Date: 9 January
PG | 125 minutes Director: Rob Marshall Cast: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp
There’s a moment in
this film in which Chris Pine – as Cinderella’s immaculately charming Prince – sings at the top of his lungs about how tortured he is to have lost the woman who danced with him at the ball, then ran away. As he laments, he melodramatically tears open his shirt to reveal his rippling muscles. Whether it’s an intentional homage to Pine’s Starfleet alter ego or not, it’s glorious; the fact it takes place in the middle of a singing contest with the Prince from “Rapunzel” only makes it funnier. Two Princes having a sing- off about who’s the most distraught? That’s Into The Woods: a tongue- in- cheek collection of fairytales shaken together like a mythical cocktail into a dazzling single story.
Disney have finally brought Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed 1986 musical to the screen, and it’s a stunning success. There’s the star- packed cast; there’s the music, whose playful lyrics delight; there’s the fun that’s had with fairytale tropes. Every time you think you know where the well- trodden paths of these storybook woods are going, there’s a witty twist.
It’s a tad too long, with the more downbeat second act occasionally dragging, and Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella and Lilla Crawford’s Hood are, perhaps, rather shrill. But these are tiny quibbles that don’t really matter when the rest of the film knocks it out of the park. Or should that be out of the woods? Jayne Nelson A movie version of Into The Woods has been in development hell since 1990. Once, Robin Williams and Cher were set to star.
“They will not build that bypass!”