By Sara Da Silva
I have been well aware of the musical genius that is Stephen Sondheim for some time now, but I have never appreciated him as much as I do now. Into the Woods isn’t your typical happily ever after fairytale; it’s so much more.
I don’t want to give too much away because I firmly believe that this is a film worth watching without its plot twists being spoiled. So I will refrain from bearing all details. But there is no harm in revealing somethings.
The movie begins with the beautiful prologue in which we learn the backstories of each of the characters. First off, the baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) wish to have a child but cannot due to a curse laid upon them by a witch (Meryl Streep). In order to lift the curse, the baker and his wife must obtain 4 objects: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. This is where the other characters come in. Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) must go through the woods to the market in order to sell his family’s cow who bears no milk. In the woods, the baker, his wife and Jack make a deal: the cow for 5 magic beans. Little did Jack know that these beans would create a beanstalk leading to a kingdom in the sky ruled by a giant. The second item that the baker must find is owned by the one and only Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford). Now, we all know her story: she travels through the woods in order to get to her grandmother’s house, but mistakenly meets The Wolf (Johnny Depp). Next on their list is the hair as yellow as corn: Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy). Again, a very well known story. Lastly, in order to complete the spell, the baker and his wife must find a slipper as pure as gold. As Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) runs from the Prince (Chris Pine) at the stroke of midnight she happens upon the baker’s wife who discovers that she possesses the last item. Each of these stories, as we knew them as children, had happy endings. But, we aren’t children any more. Sadly. Let’s just say that things don’t go according to plan.
Not only is the story perfectly riddled with plot twists, but the cast makes this adaptation of the musical even better. We were all aware of Anna Kendrick’s amazing voice after Pitch Perfect came out but her falsetto is especially wonderful in Into the Woods. After watching Chris Pine sing Fly Me to the Moon on Kimmy Kimmel Live I knew that he would be brilliant in this film. But brilliant is an underestimation. The song Agony, sung by Chris and Billy Magnussen (who plays Rapunzel’s Prince), was perhaps the most unexpectedly hilarious song of the film. I was over the moon to find out that Daniel Huttlestone would be playing Jack after having played Gavroche in Les Misérables, aka my favourite musical. I shan’t single out each of the cast members because this article will go on forever if I do. Let me just say that the soundtrack to this film genuinely gave me the chills, so much so that I immediately bought the soundtrack on iTunes when I got home.
But, before I get caught in a never ending stream of praise, I need to say one last thing: go see this movie. If not for it’s perfectly combined plots or it’s beautiful soundtrack, then go see it for the incredibly talented cast. If musicals are your thing then you will fall head over heels for this film.