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« Beauty vs Beast: Tilda vs Tilda | Main | Lead Actress Chat-a-long »
Monday
Dec292014

Reviewish: Into the Woods, Musical Numbers Ranked

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic Into the Woods. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Cinderella's family mocking our movie musical anxiety

When it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review...

No, of course what really matters is the blame
Somebody to blame. 
Fine, if that's the thing you enjoy, Placing the blame,
If that's the aim, Give me the blame

So back to Into the Woods . Does it survive the transfer? With so much baggage brought into the movie theater I’ll admit that a traditional review has been tough to write. So herewith a ranked list of the musical numbers (in their current form) as a sneaky way to coax out all those thorny blinding feelings.

That List as Pure as Gold
Worst to Best

“Hello, Little Girl”

Johnny Depp is not so much the Demon Barber of the movie musical but the Devil Butcher. He can’t sing so he talks his way semi-rhythmically through Sondheim’s expressive melodies, gutting them of their beauty in the process. That they let this once essential now tiresomely repetitive star choose his costuming (an awful zoot-suit number that renders the Wolf less fantastical and more human pimp /pedophile) is the film’s most obvious eyesore and icky miscalculation.

“Witches Lament / Children Will Listen / Last Midnight”
[MINOR SPOILERS] Meryl Streep has been winning her customary raves for the showiest role. It's true that she sings the part with passion and nuance. But the smoothed Disney-fied edges of the adaptation which make Act Two much less dark (Rapunzel doesn’t die for one) dull the Witch’s motivations and her character arc becomes nearly inexplicable as a result. “Last Midnight” remains exciting and flashy as a song but good luck figuring out what the hell is going on in that visual fx muddle (is she committing suicide? is she being sucked into the earth? is she turning into a swamp? I have no idea! And I’ve seen it twice).

More problematic is “Witches Lament” which contains the line ‘Children won’t listen!’ a self-delusional moment that’s in direct opposition to the show’s actual message and closing number “Children Will Listen.” When that finale is glossed over in chorus and end credits form, it confuses the musical’s takeaway message. This all suggests that the filmmakers were too close to the material and assumed everyone would ‘get it’ while removing the parts that are there to be, uh, gotten. [/SPOILERS]

“I Know Things Now”
Broadway’s recent Annie Lilla Crawford takes on Little Red and does solid work with the role, most amusingly in the opening prologue when her sweet tooth gets the best of her and she sings with her face stuffed. (As if Sondheim’s lyrics aren’t already a mouthful!) The filmmakers choose to stylize her big number (very wise) rather than literalizing it. That the number falls a little flat is possibly the lingering bad taste of The Wolf?

“It Takes Two”

James Corden and Emily Blunt have fine chemistry as the childless couple, The Baker and his wife, that are at the emotional center of the action. That this production cast only actors that can genuinely sing (with the lone wolf —haha- exception of Johnny Depp) is a huge blessing and possibly a note of glorious optimism for the future. Especially considering that the auto-tunedAnnie is playing in some of the same theaters as a direct comparison point. 

“Your Fault Then”

The show’s super-fast mass blaming ritual retains its heated a-ha! revelations and sad/funny barbed power with these stellar singing actors. But the movie’s strange visual decisions - muddy color and cinematography which my friend has dubbed “baby poop palette” is especially problematic in the act two numbers when the film is not just emotionally but visually darker.

“Giants in the Sky”

Gavroche from Les Miz plays Jack and belts this song with the kind of Broadway Baby gusto that you rarely see in movie musicals while he jumps around a giant tree. The only drawback here is the director’s literalism. Why waste that tight “musicals are risky!” budget on bad beanstalk and Giant effects when you could opt for a stylized flashback like the kind Little Red got?

“No One is Alone”

While it’s not the last ballad in the musical it becomes the defacto finale in this adaptation. What a powerhouse number it remains with clear eyed grieving beauty and generous subtext for the queer audience about creating your own families. The clipping of it’s final note is a marvel of precision in the sound editing and narrative thrust.

“Any Moment/Moments in the Woods”
Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince is the movie’s biggest surprise (“I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”) He’s pitch-perfect as this two-dimensional character that wants to rub up all over the three-dimensional ladies. Emily Blunt, who has great musical chops (hurrah) with a wonderful fluidity between comic flourishes and emotional truth, nails her big monologue solo “Moments in the Woods” … as she tries to regain her bearings from the Prince’s seduction. Unfortunately the film chickens out of the follow-through making the outer edge of this final scene blink and you’ll miss it confusing when it needs to be blunt and can’t miss it jaw-dropping.

 

“Stay With Me” 
Streep’s finest moment in an otherwise manic performance is this slow build character song. She sings it in the cramped confines of Rapunzel’s tower (perhaps the tighter quarters reigned her in?) and she sings it perfectly, mixing a hypnotic brew of bossiness, neediness, loneliness, and pleading, with fire and nuance. The song remains a clever portrait of over-protective parenting.

 “Prologue (Into the Woods)”

The 17 minute opening segment is just about as wonderful as movie kick-offs get, whirling all the characters into instant action with character bits that braid together until you’re looking at the whole blissful company embarking on a musical journey together. If you love the traditional movie musical, the effect is not unlike dying and waking up in show tune heaven.

“Agony”
Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen and Billy Magnussen’s ass (the unheralded star of this production in black leather pants continually mounting and dismounting horses) elevate this silly number from the stage show into the comic highlight of the movie. The duet finds the Prince Charmings attempting to one-up each other in their tales of romantic longing for their would be brides. We knew Billy Magnussen had this in him (thanks to his Tony nominated stage work) but who knew that the heretofore bland Chris Pine was this good at comedy?

“On the Steps of the Palace”
Cinderella’s big solo, as she flees the ball and her Prince Charming only to find herself outwitted and stuck on the steps of his palace has been brilliantly rethought as an in-the-moment soliloquy. Time freezes gorgeously, Chris Pine stands erect and out of focus in the background and Anna Kendrick, a thoroughly modern Cinderella with a voice from the gods, sings her indecisive little heart out. It’s the kind of number that can restore your faith in this continually uneven treacherous genre. On the Steps of the Palace should be played on loop to shame non-singing stars from signing on to singing roles whenever they’re considering it. May it inspire directors (even hit and miss Rob Marshall who is responsible for this one) to approach every scene with the same amount of care, invention, clear emotional intent, and singing actors who are more than up to the task.

 

And so we come to the end…of our list.

I wish. more than anything. more than the moon...

...that it were easier to enjoy modern movie musicals full stop. I think Cinderella said it best when she said

My father’s house was a nightmare. Yours was a dream. Now I want something inbetween.

Such is the curse of the movie musical fanatic, to forever balance on a knife's edge between devastating disappointment and ecstatic pleasure. Into the Woods provides plenty of both but tilts far enough toward the latter to whet our appetites for another movie musical balancing act.

Next! 

 

Grade: Act 1: A- ; Act 2: B- (fwiw in stage productions Act 2 is usually superior) 
Related: Interview with Anna Kendrick
Oscar Chances: Across the board but especially in costumes, sound, and supporting actress

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Reader Comments (31)

Have not seen the stage production and somehow I've never even heard any of the songs (!) so for me the movie was a really pleasant (good ) surprise. I thought it was very funny and the singing was good across the board . Act 2 seemed to belong in a different story ( as Emily Blunt says when the prince hits on her ) but all in all it was a solid entertaining show. The kids in the audience seemed a bit bored though, as they kept asking questions continuously. Children won't listen.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

a) I'd argue that act two is not really superior, it just raises the show because it's where all the complexity lies. Act one is basically five brilliantly intertwined fairy tales - there's a reason people would leave the theatre after the first act - on its own, it is still very solid, well constructed theatre.

b) Sondheim has written some phenomenal lyrics, but "Better stop and take stock while you're standing here stuck to the steps of the palace" might be the best he's ever done. Maybe.

Damn, he's a genius.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I do not like Broadway musicals but I thought this one was decent enough. The first act is vastly superior though. The music I found pretty terrible, except Agony which was hilarious. The lyrics may be good but Sondheim is too repetitive and blends together. In this particular musical there's only one half decent song and that's a major flaw in my eyes. I wanna leave the theater singing all the songs. Look at something like Rocky Horror, Hedwig, Chicago, just to name a few, there are plenty of great songs to choose from. As for the acting, I thought the best were Blunt and Chris Pine.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Oh man. CHRIS PINE. I did not expect that from him, not at alllllll. He walked off with the movie for me. Perhaps because of low expectations? Emily Blunt landed at a close second for me, so naturally their scene together was heaven. She sent my otherwise stoic fellow theater-goers into serious giggles with her perfect reading of "You have a princess! And I have.... a baker." Marvelous all round.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Pine, Blunt, Kendrick and Streep were aces for me, but the MVP was most definitely Billy Magnussen's ass. Best Cameo for the Film Bitch Awards?

I wish Pine could get in the conversation more for Supporting. At least over Duvall?? I'm hoping he can Jacki Weaver his way into the top five. The musical genre is always killer in Supporting Actress, I just wished it went both ways.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I was going to suggest a new film bitch category for Best Performance by a Body Part.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMikey67

I feel so guilty for not enjoying Chris Pine...at all. I thought "Agony" was among the worst of the songs in the film. To add, it is typically one of my favorite parts of the show :(

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKevin P.

Those of you who have never seen the stage production, you can watch a filmed performance of it on DVD (taped for PBS back in '80s and stars Bernadette Peters as The Witch) and I think at least segments of it are available on Youtube.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

Good review. Does anyone think maybe I know things now should have been cut considering it didnt make sense without the subtext. I felt that was the weakest number, at least Jack's flashbacks in giants in the sky didn't take place 2 seconds before the song like little red's did.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTy

Streep rocked Last Midnight.... I felt it was easier to understand her mother's punishment in the movie...she was still MVP for me and other reviewers

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I'm surprised the Witch's songs are ranked so low. I thought they were some of the most affecting and satisfying parts of the movie - and Meryl provides a definitive take on the character, usurping all others that have been recorded. She brings layers and nuance that Bernadette simply isn't able to (Bernadette's Witch is broader and schticky - it worked in that production very well. But here, Meryl actually makes the Witch a person).

I also have NEVER seen an end of "Moments in the Woods" that is jaw-dropping. In the original production, in the Park- it was always somewhat vague. The Baker's Wife falls and is accompanied by a noise, and then we find out in the next scene she died. The audience finds out when the Baker does. The choice in the film is no less overt than Joanna Gleason putting a hand to her face as a tree falls somewhere near her.

And Emily Blunt's take on the Baker's Wife is wonderful. No Joanna Gleason, but uniquely her own- very warm, and maternal from the get-go (encouraging Little Red to take cookies- and a basket!) which made it all the more urgent that she needed a child.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAustin

Nathaniel believes Streep has been delivering poor performances since Devil wear Prada so his reviews are usually very harsh on anything Streep does... She sings the hell out of Last Midnight but yet here in this review she is second to WORST....??
And Children Won't listen is how the witch's lament is in the stage show.....

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I usually enjoy your reviews but, I confess, I enjoy them more when we agree. Again, I am a voracious fan of Meryl Streep but this performance did not thrill me. I very much agree with your assessment of her songs. My only quibble is putting STEPS OF THE PALACE as the best song. Certainly it was sung and acted very well but I found the interpretation a little confusing. The lyrics really seem to cry out for recalling rather than living but maybe I'm just too much of a purist. God was Depp's scenes/song a waste. Damn. And I do agree with Ty - the GIANTS IN THE SKY number really needs the context to be clearer to really hit home. So does Red's song too, to be honest. I also disagree with you about the musical on stage. The 1st act of this film is one of the most amazing experiences I've had in live theatre. It is delicious, exciting, amazing and builds to a remarkable climax. For me, the 2nd act of the film suffers from the same problem the 2nd act of the stage musical does - too many damn serious, soul exposing songs at the end - on and on and on everyone goes until I get drowsy. I know they all had so many things they wanted to say, so many wise observations about life and love and moving on, and so many witty, clever lyrics to sing but - damn - I wish it could have tackled all the wonderful "after the festival" moments and then built to a big, dramatically effective climax. Ah well.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Actually what I just wrote about STEPS ON THE PALACE was ignorant. For me the probably had nothing to do with recalling and lyrics - what a stupid thing to write - my probably was she moved too much. No, I don't think she should have been filmed to look like she was actually stuck on the stairs but - for Cinderella - she is stuck between the two worlds/the two choices/the two self perceptions/the two expectations she has for her life. Kendrick in this role, with some closeups and some different angles, could have carried off the song without so much movement. Let her sit there and think aloud (through song). Sure, if you must you can have Pine in the background frozen but that wasn't really that clear to me when I saw it because it didn't seem to be caused by Cinderella but some unclear reason. I think it's cool if Cinderella stops everything for a moment and considers but then film that in a very clear way and then let her think/sing. I was so distracted by all her running around that I lost track of the inner turmoil and focused on the physicality and the shoe and the dress and the background.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

"...Chris Pine stands erect [bravo!] and out of focus in the background [boo!]"

we have to wait until january 8th for the film to open down here. agony!

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I'm not sure that Streep's casting wasn't at least a little bit distracting, but I do think her "Stay With Me" was the most emotionally resonant number in the film.

I missed the "pause and reflect" that the Act II Prologue, which was omitted, could have provided.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBD

4 out of 10. I was so disappointed by it.

I know on stage the show can drag but this film went the other way and didn't let anything land before moving on to the next thing. And when moments did land they dropped like lead balloons. Most things that were supposed to be funny... weren't.

Jamie,
from one Meryl fan to another, you have to try to chill out.
I agree with "Last Midnight" being one of the better vocally performed songs (it's the only song I listen to from the soundtrack), but Meryl (and I LOVE her) was giving me some serious Mamma Mia! flashbacks (The Winner Takes It All, particularly) with that scarf and just turning this way and that.

I wanted and was ready to be amazed by her performance, and though there are some great quiet moments (she is Meryl after all), that 4th Oscar will have to wait. I can't think of a nomination she will have deserved less. This from someone who was throwing all kinds of shade at Nathaniel R while reading his Meryl Fatigue justification-manifesto-peace-treaty thing. The only thing that could change my mind on her would be watching the scene that was cut and what she did with the new song.

I don't get what the big deal about Chris Pine is about, that he's actually an okay actor? That he made some character choices?
The less said about Depp the better.
Kendrick's Cinderella was dull and her singing shrill.
Blunt was fine.

This movie made me like the musical a little less and I worship at Sondheim's altar. Can't he get ONE good movie made from his musicals?

Please, Hollywood, stay away from Company...

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRene

Nathaniel, good for you for having the courage to not kiss Meryl Streep's butt just because of her reputation. The truth must be spoken at least once in the world.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Jamie -- i did not say Meryl's performance was poor , nor have i said her performances have been poor since Devil Wears Prada... the only thing i've said about that whole time frame is I've not once thought she was one of the five best of the year since then... that is much different than saying someone is doing bad work. For the record my favorite performance of Meryl's since 2006 is in Julie & Julia... she's just lovely in that one and I really wish she had won the Oscar that year (so much better than The Iron Lady).

I LOVE HER SINGING VOICE. I've always said so. and she did a fine job of witches lament but since they basically cut CHILDREN WILL LISTEN it confuses the message of the show. She didn't ruin it. it was just a poor number because of how the movie handled it.

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Great review-- I loved the interjection of lyrics and I always enjoy a good list.

That said, some thoughts:

--I read your interview with Anna Kendrick about "On the Steps of the Palace" before seeing the movie and was actually pretty disappointed when I finally saw what you were talking about. I agree with Billybil-- there was way too much movement in the staging of that song. If you're "stuck to the steps," be stuck to the steps more or less. But if you're going to move, you better have her do something more interesting than stepping to the side, going up the steps, going down the steps, laying down (that bit in particular seemed like that just ran out of ideas for her), etc.

--My favorite Meryl moment in the film was where she gave Rapunzel blackberries when we were first introduced to Rapunzel. It was such a sweet moment that set up her intentions and then we never saw those sweet intentions again. She just returned to being... well... a witch.

--The flashback in "I Know Things Now" had hideous effects that didn't fit the palate of the remainder of the movie. It reminded me of Alice falling into the rabbit hole.

Personally, I'd rank the Prologue the best number in the movie. I was ecstatic as they all headed into the woods in a single shot.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Rene- Nathaniel can have his opinion but I have mine as well. I believe Streep was not worst in show and I disagree with it being the Kendrik show.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Oh boy, I've missed your reviews!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Jamie -- i didn't say she was worst in show either! Streep fans are so sensitive. I was ranking the musical numbers as staged. If i ranked them as sung her numbers would be right near the top. and as far as performances i'd put her in the top four with blunt, kendrick, and pine.

December 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I have seen the stage show many times (we own a copy of the original Broadway version recorded live for TV) and live productions by local and regional theater (most recently Boston Lyric Stage), traveling productions, ITW Jr. for middle and high school and children's theater workshop productions. My kid and my niece were both Red in different productions, so I feel like I really KNOW this work, especially the music.

IMO this movie version gets a solid B, not bad, not good, just right. I enjoyed my 2 hours, despite all the flaws, omissions, and choices in shots, casting, etc. A Best Picture? No way, but decent entertainment.

Highs: Emily Blunt. An actress who can sing, she did a fantastic job as the Baker's Wife. The guffaws and giggles in her songs are memorable. She gave us a true musical theater performance. Staging of Agony--hilarious. Stay with Me--Meryl nailed the singing, and her performance was affecting. The Prologue--I was thrilled because I wondered how they would shoot this.

Lows: Depp, but don't even want to waste time on this. The casting of Jack--Huddleston, while a decent actor/singer, is just too young for the part because Jack is supposed to be a man-child. (I also saw a tweet that said Gavroche is just too Gavroche-y in ITW). The makeup on the Witch--ugh, especially because there were many close-ups. And it's on the poster...Meryl should have switched to Tilda's guy.

Disappointments: Anna Kendrick. I like her a lot in other roles; she's funny and quirky, but she looked very uncomfortable in this, despite decent singing (though a bit high-pitched for my taste.). Zero emotion and flat delivery of spoken lines. "Then why did you stray?" sounded high school production to me. Cuts of songs; Ever After, So Happy, Agony reprise, and No More, really bothered me. I knew it was going to happen, but thematically, Sondheim, Lapine, and Marshall should have fought to keep them in. Another disappointment: not enough BILLY MAGNUSSEN!!!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I find it so fascinating how differently people can interpret the same material. I and my husband actually felt the exact opposite about the Witch's journey. For once, it seemed to be clearer and less of a star turn. He actually said, "I never understood what Last Midnight was about or where the Witch went at the end until the movie. It suddenly became clearly a suicidal act and her "mother" swallowing her up into the earth."

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

My least favorite number in the movie is No More because it used as underscore rather than sung! A huge mistake.

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again to watch Agony, Moments in the Woods, Giants in the Sky, the opening, No One Is Alone. Which is pretty good since I didn't want to watch anything again after seeing Nine.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Saw it this weekend. But a couple of days before, I re-watched the Broadway edition on DVD. The movie's a reasonably enjoyable, generally respectful version. But there's nothing visionary or terrible exciting here. Performance-wise, Blunt's probably best in show - a lovely singing voice and the acting glows with her special brand of resonant, multifaceted honesty. But Joanna Gleason's owns this part and probably always will. Streep (not helped, as one commenter noted) by the close-ups of a substandard make-up job) was serviceable but not special. We already knew she could sing pretty well. But Broadway's Bernadette Peters thrilled, chilled and tore your heart out in the role. And that voice of hers maybe lacks the smoothness of Streep's but it ranges into so many strange startling places that Peters' Witch just never stops astonishing. I've never "gotten" Anna Kendrick. Her line delivery almost always strikes me as flat and high school play-ish. And I kind of agreed with my friend who turned to me after the movie and said, "I bet there are a lot of people in this theater saying " Isn't Cinderella supposed to be pretty?" Her singing seemed fine in "Pitch Perfect" but here it struck me as unpleasantly nasal. Whereas Blunt's vocalizing was a constantly beautiful surprise. The movie princes were excellent and the staging of the
ultra- melodic "Agony" provided the film version's most visually creative moment. But too bad the studio elected to cut out the "Agony" reprise. But then this was always going to be part of Disney's strategy. For box-office reasons - plus the need to maintain their squeaky clean brand rep - they preferred to make the thing more friendly to the "Frozen" crowd. No illegitimate kids or madness for Rapunzel, fewer sexually provocative moments. The changes diminished the show but didn't come close to destroying it. So, for that, we should be thankful. A good-enough movie version of "Into the Woods" was maybe not what we'd hoped for - but it certainly didn't turn out to be the "Nine" level catastrophe many had feared.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen

I'm confused why everyone is harping on Depp, is it just tiredness of him? His macabre crooning is so in touch with the off-putting ambiguity of the Wolf without being too over the top or too bland. I thought he was good. Of the main cast, I found Streep least affecting. Not terrible, by any means (the cast is roundly good) but least exciting and so much less interesting or moving than the part could be. But, in Streep's performance lies an interesting point about the entire production. This is the least funny version of the musical. Not a demerit (it seemed more interested in going for mysterious than funny) but the show's darkness needs some levity to make it pop.

One thing that really quells the potential is not allowing time to breathe for the act two. As soon as The Baker's Wife immediately became nine months pregnant when the transformation occurred, I was nervous. It robs so much essential character growth and it's not just love for the original that makes me unhappy they lose "So Happy" because it features the line which becomes thematic for the entire thing "wishes may bring problems, such that you regret them. Better that, though, than to get them."

Thus, making the moments in act two so confused. (Also, I'm still annoyed with Rapunzel living the Baker's Wife is the only one the Giant kills making her death seem much more "retribution for straying" and less "anything can happen in these dangerous woods".)

A nice film, yes, but you say it well with the filmmakers assuming everyone would "get it" when they'd cut so much without giving them moments to understand what passed.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

I haven't seen the stage version and didn't know anything about the story.
After the prologue i was on such a high I texted my friend and said: "'Into the Woods' is already my favorite musical and I haven't even gotten through half of it" lol. Unfortunately it was uneven and went downhill, with the second act not quite living up to the first. I'm glad you pointed out the confusion in 'Children will listen', I really thought I was missing something. Also, Blunt's exit was so watered down... the emotional punch was lacking, and so it was for most of the movie.
Still, I enjoyed it and would watch it again, especially on stage.

January 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterG.ShaQ

Great article! Thoroughly enjoyed the comments as well. I like the movie version, but I think that ''Into the woods" was far superior on the stage. I also consider Bernadette Peter's voice and acting far superior to those of Meryl Streep, whose work is adequate, but really not remarkable. By the way, does anybody know if Meryl has blasted Walt Disney again at the premieres, calling him a bigot, racist, a cat hater, etc., as she did last year at the National Board of Review Awards, while presenting an award to Emma Thompson for her performance in Saving Mr. Banks?

January 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWaldemar Lopes

Well here's one Steep fan who doesn't want her to get anywhere near a nomination for "Into the Woods." If she does, it will go down as one of the worst nods of her career (alongside "Music of the Heart," "One True Thing," "Doubt," and "August: Osage County." There are more but I will stop with that.

Go Tilda Swinton or Rene Russo!

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

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