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- “Let the words flow out of you like rain, and let the flood begin.” Quote from Michelle, Custodaris to Apollo, out of Murdering Eve.

 

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Movie Review – Into the Woods

First and foremost, you must know this is a MUSICAL. Not a movie with some singing in it… but a full-on, almost every word spoken is sung, musical. If you hate those, you can stop reading now. If you don’t mind that kind of thing, read on.

In a twisty plotline, four classic fairy tales are interwoven – Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. I was impressed by the story’s ability to blend them at all, but some worked, while others fell flat. The cast line-up was dynamite. Check it. Lots of familiar faces.

The kid who played Jack was awesome. Don’t know where he came from, but he was believable and belted out his music. The moon-faced kid who played Little Red wasn’t as nearly as compelling. When the big bad wolf, played by Johnny Depp, ate her - I kinda wanted to cheer a little bit. Even if I was TOTALLY creeped out by the child-predator-esque portrayal of the big bad wolf.

I get, totally a morality lesson in there – don’t talk to strangers in the woods… but seriously. I didn’t know if Depp’s character wanted to eat her or do bad things to her. I found myself thinking eating her was the kinder option. Those are not the thoughts I want in my head while watching something that’s supposed to be light hearted and fun.

I liked Cinderella  (played by Anna Kendrick) as a character in this story. Call it blasphemy, but classic Cinderella makes me cringe. She’s so passive, and there’s, like, ZERO girl power in the traditional tale. But this new Cinderella can’t decide if she wants the prince or not, which I kinda dug. Especially since Prince Charming is a slick, handsome douchebag, played by ever-so-slick and handsome Chris Pine.

At least the new Cinderella has some critical thinking skills, even if she’s a little indecisive. And the wicked stepmother ROCKED it, played by Christine Baranski, who is always a favorite of mine.

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I loved, loved, loved that they went back to the original tale where the stepmother hacked off parts of the stepsister’s feet to try and get them into the shoe, but all I could think when the slipper went on to Cinderella’s foot was, “Holy shit, isn’t there like blood, and gore, and like, toes in there?”

I think my favorite scene in the whole movie was a kitchy little number by the arrogant princes (yes, there are 2), where they sing about the agony of not getting what they want (Cinderella and Rapunzel). That got a laugh from everyone, especially the shirt ripping part at 2:25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLR1uKXNc-M

The Rapunzel storyline left me cold. Felt like that one as a bit of a throwaway, other than to help tie in the witch to the main plot, which was the Baker and his wife, who are tasked with collecting items (each one plucked from the four fairy tales) in order to remove the witch’s curse on their house.

Speaking of the main plotline…. when the Baker’s wife does what she does at the end, I was all, “WTF? Are you KIDDING ME?” That was so unnecessary and this wonderful, sympathetic person I’ve been rooting for the whole movie is suddenly doing something rotten, and so completely out of character! Really pissed me off and was a turning point in the film where I went from thinking, “This is an okay movie,” to “OMG I’m never watching this movie again!”

Meryl did a fine job. That’s about all I have to say there. She was good, but the story wasn’t one that helped her shine. Especially her final scene, which I did not understand. Not sure what a tar pit had to do with anything at all. Watch it and you’ll get me.

Overall, I must give this only 2.5 out of 5 stars …

Several parts made me smile, and the music was undeniably awesome, but when I go to see a fairy tale, I expect to leave happy, dammit, and I didn’t.

Hugs, Kelly

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