Starring: James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick
Director: Rob Marshall
Running Time: 125 mins
Into The Woods is an American film about a wicked witch who gives a baker and his wife the task of finding four items from the worlds of four classic fairytales in order to reverse the curse on their family tree, however not everything ends happily ever after.
This film is a complete mess. It’s not only a massively tonally inconsistent attempt to adapt a ‘dark fairytale, but is full of boring songs, ugly sets and costumes, surprisingly poor acting and a mesh of countless famous fairytale characters that just don’t go together at all well.
I’ll start with what I was most disappointed by: the performances. With a cast like this, I was expecting really good things (apart from James Corden, who should stick to Smithy and A League Of Their Own), however I was shocked to find that almost all the actors were not only bad, but insufferable.
The exception to that was Emily Blunt, who put in a convincing and fun performance as the baker’s wife, perhaps one of this film’s only redeeming qualities. However, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone and James Corden were dull and didn’t do anything to make their seemingly two-dimensional characters interesting.
Also, Johnny Depp plays the creepiest ‘big bad wolf’ I’ve ever seen, mostly in one early scene which made me feel very uncomfortable, and parents may want to think twice about letting their kids watch something like it. The worst performance, however, was Meryl Streep. I can’t believe she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe here for any other reason that just being Meryl Streep. Not only is her performance painfully over the top and irritating, but it seems as if she’s trying desperately to hog centre stage in what is in essence an ensemble cast movie.
Away from the performances, the story and the atmosphere is also very poor. I’m sure that the stage musical works very well, but here, everything seemed very forced and unconvincing, with all of these elements thrown into one mixing bowl, but never really fitting together at all well, instead trying to work together while feeling very distant from one another.
The first half of this film is better than the latter half. It begins as a slightly comedic romp, although with some dark undertones, and is relatively entertaining (although the excessive singing comparable to Les Miserables got on my nerves quickly). However, the second half, which reverts the fairytale genre and descends into a darker atmosphere, is a complete mess. The story falls apart, the characters become even more uninteresting, the cinematography becomes excessively dark, and it slows down to a painful slog, ending this film on a particularly low note.
Finally, I have to talk about how ugly this film is. I understand that it’s meant to look a lot darker than your average Disney fairytale, but when it’s just average CGI clumped together with a very brownish colour palette, there’s nothing to get excited about when you’re looking at this film, and that was significant in making it a very unpleasant watch for me.
Overall, this gets a 4.3, because of its surprisingly poor performances, rubbish songs, tonal inconsistencies and bad story as well as a very ugly look to it all.