We all delight in seeing our favorite books brought to life on the big screen. We cringe at casting. We scoff at release dates. All the while, we're gearing up to see if the director's vision lives up to the world we've conceived in our own imaginations. Sometimes it does...and sometimes it doesn't. We could lament the movies that don't measure up, or we could return to the books for a re-read, possibly with a slightly different mind-set. All's fair when it comes to artistic vision, right?
Today, I'm featuring the following movie:
Title: Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt & Chris Pine
Release date: December 25, 2014
Based on: Into the Woods by James Lapine
A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
And she actually ended up enjoying the movie a lot more than I did. Don't get me wrong. Cinematically, it was gorgeous to behold. It was so visually stunning, and I guess, audibly, just as gorgeous. But it was rather long and drawn out for my tastes and ended boring me there toward the end.
I found nothing lacking in the acting or the vocal performances. Yes, some actors and actresses were stronger than others, as is the case in any film, but I don't think any one performance can be blamed for my lack of enthusiasm for the movie. I've never seen the original musical that this movie was based on, for which I am very glad considering the changes they made to this adaptation and how they seem to have enraged some because of their omission.
But I love a good retelling. I especially love a story like this that combines several tales into one. And this story is so well done, so auspicious in nature that I was absolutely positive I would love it. I adored Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect, and Meryl Streep is a goddess among women. And I just knew that Chris Pine would play the perfect douche-arific prince to Anna Kendrick's Cinderella. But the pacing kept me from finding this movie as endearing as I'd hoped.
One thing I've noticed I appreciate more and more these days, though, is stories where the young maiden doesn't require saving by a prince or any other male character. That these girls determines their own course of action, their own future, makes me like these modern-day heroines more and more. If only there had been more of those when I was growing up; damsels-in-distress are so last decade. :)
My favorite scene, in case you were wondering, is the one depicted below, where the prince and the "other" prince sing "Agony" on the falls. The whole theater was cracking up during this song and I think even Katie gave way to how ridiculous that whole scenario was. But it was funny and entertaining and really, what more can you ask for?