Into The Woods

Sing a song of Sond­heim

SFX - - Rated dvd & blu-ray -

Re­lease Date: 18 May 2014 | PG | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Rob Mar­shall Cast: James Cor­den, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Anna Ken­drick, Daniel Hut­tle­stone, Lilla Craw­ford

Mu­si­cals can

be tricky things to trans­late onto screen – while there are plenty of show­stop­ping movie ver­sions, they’ve more of­ten been the pre­serve of Dis­ney- lite chil­dren’s films than the emo­tional in­ten­si­ties seen on stage. And Stephen Sond­heim is worlds away from “lite”, so can a film ver­sion of one of his most trea­sured works make it on the screen? With a screen­play by orig­i­nal writer James Lap­ine, it can.

The plot is a mish- mash of all your favourite fairy sto­ries. A baker and his wife learn the rea­son for their child­less­ness is a curse put on his fam­ily by a witch ( Meryl Streep). In or­der to lift it, they must bring back a red cape ( guess whose), yel­low hair ( let down from a tower, maybe?), a golden shoe ( like one left on the palace steps) and a milk­white cow, here of­fered for sale by a young lad named Jack. The first half of the film deals with the cou­ple’s trav­els through the woods as they in­ter­act with all the clas­sic sto­ries.

There’s a tonal shift for the sec­ond half of the tale, and it’s this that many non- Sond­heim fans strug­gle with. The film’s ver­sion isn’t quite as bru­tal as the orig­i­nal, but still, no one gets their hoped- for happy end­ing. That’s not a bad thing, though, and a grit­tier re­al­ity in which ac­tions have con­se­quences, and even gi­ants leave be­hind peo­ple that mourn them, makes for a more ma­ture, so­phis­ti­cated take on of­ten- sac­cha­rine fairy­tales.

It’s pretty per­fectly cast, too – James Cor­den and Emily Blunt are com­pelling as the heart of the story, though Cor­den’s voice isn’t re­ally strong enough for his dual role as nar­ra­tor. New Cap­tain Kirk Chris Pine proves him­self a con­sid­er­ably bet­ter singer than Wil­liam Shat­ner as one of the princes, while Anna Ken­drick adds charm as an in­de­ci­sive Cin­derella. Not re­ally one for kids, but adults are in for a treat.

Ex­tras: Com­men­tary by the direc­tor and a pro­ducer; an ex­tra song, cut from the film; five fur­ther brief deleted scenes; a Mak­ing Of ( 29 min­utes); two fea­turettes ( 22 min­utes). Rhian Drinkwa­ter

There is a more child- friendly ver­sion of the orig­i­nal for school per­for­mances, which leaves out the darker sec­ond half.

A mish- mash of all your favourite fairy sto­ries

The leaf- col­lec­tors strike in­fu­ri­ated ev­ery­one.

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