Into The Woods

Once upon a Sond­heim

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema -

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!”

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