I often jump for new movies not having any idea what I’m getting into. For example, as I skimmed the Rotten Tomatoes page for Into the Woods, I noticed it said it was a mix between Hollywood and Broadway, implying to me, that it might have roots on Broadway already. My initial impression was that it was a fun story, but it didn’t belong in the big screen, but live, on Broadway. If it was a Broadway baby that Hollywood decided to release for a wider audience/profit, then I was still right, sort of.
The story behind Into the Woods takes many of the characters from the fairytale stories from my youth. Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel (sort of) and a variety of others are repurposed. While not one really stands out over another, the amalgamation of all of them is a bit much, making the movie feel even longer than it might have been. The singing was, in a word, excessive. There seemed to be more singing than speaking and while some of the stars shined, I was startled by Emily Blunt’s ability to sing, quite unexpected really, for the most part, everyone was quite able, though I felt like a musical in a movie allows the sound folks to scrub everything clean, whereas live, there is nowhere to hide.
I don’t know that I can say I enjoyed the movie. At times I felt bored and the new versions of the stories didn’t bring me anything that made me think, oh, that’s neat. It was fun, interesting to see actors in different roles. Chris Pine as a shallow Prince Charming was interesting, but that’s the best I can say. At some points, it felt like the movie was making fun of itself and if that had been consistent throughout, I might feel more confident thinking that was deliberate. It was an uneven movie, at best. For seven dollars, I won’t complain, but I won’t be buying it on DVD or opting to see it a second time.