Into the Woods

Into the Woods is a film that aroused much excitement in children and musical lovers through its effective advertising and publicity. On watching the trailer it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect the film to achieve 5 star reviews. There may well be 5 star reviews out there, but this is not one of them. This review agrees more with the IMDB rating of 6.4/10. With an all-star cast made up of some of the most fantastic actors (Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep) expectations were high. And, in actual fact, it wasn’t the actors nor even the storyline that made Into the Woods a disappointment. It was, and I hate to say it, the music.
I squirm in my seat as I write critique of Sondheim’s work. Sweeney Todd is one of my favourite musicals so I expected excellent things from the music in Into the Woods. In Sweeney Todd I have favourite songs but in Into the Woods I could hardly differentiate between them let alone develop a love for a particular one. The music almost sounded like the songs I create when I’m pretending to be a Broadway star singing everything that I should be saying. Unfortunately, most of the songs were unimaginative. The songs should not be cut out altogether as Into the Woods works well as a musical and it is something that adds a layer of magic to the film. But the film would have been just as good and probably a lot better if only half the songs were included.
On a positive note, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp stole the film. Their character portrayals were what you would expect from two such high profile performers. Audiences have heard both Streep and Depp sing in films before and the quality of their singing in Into the Woods surpassed previous singing roles. Even though Anna Kendrick is known by her musical performances, Meryl Streep outshone her. James Corden, on the other hand, proves himself to be an excellent comic actor but when it came to emotions such as sincerity and sadness, Corden became unbelievable and unconvincing.This is not to say that Corden should not have been cast. His presence was greatly appreciated by audience members and thankfully his comic talent allowed one to forgive him for his feeble attempts at serious acting.
Despite what I have just written, Into the Woods is by no means a bad film. The quality of the sets, costumes and characterisation were all perfect and I found myself engrossed in most parts of the film. It is just unfortunate that the music started to grate on the ears and make the film a lot longer than it needed to be.


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