It’s a new year and I’m ready to watch some movies!
First up, I saw “Into the Woods” on New Year’s Day. I have a long history with the play. My high school was full of lovely theater people, and someone had a VHS tape of the Broadway version with Bernadette Peters that we watched over and over and over again. And when you’ve seen this show with Bernadette Peters…well, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Still, if you’re going to replace anyone, Meryl Streep is probably an acceptable substitute.
The big songs were all there, and while I missed a few of the ones they left out, I still found myself singing along with everything. As a movie, of course, some fancy special effects were added that could never be done on stage. Emily Blunt as the baker’s wife deserves a special mention, as she was fabulous. The kid who played Jack killed it with “Giants in the Sky.” Really, it’s hard to criticize anyone’s performance in this movie. Even Chris Pine manages to make Cinderella’s Prince a standout–showing off some shirt-ripping skills that he probably learned while playing Captain Kirk. And this is a star-packed film. Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick…even Tracy Ullman and Christine Baranski pop up with lovely small parts.
One thing that I did miss by seeing this as a movie instead of the show was the intermission. It seems like a strange thing to miss, but in the play there’s a very clear delineation between Acts I and II and you get to take a breath to wonder what happens next. Of course there’s no intermission in the movie and it just barrels right through.
I think that people who aren’t familiar with the play will still enjoy the movie, although they might not understand exactly what they’re getting into. It’s rated PG, and I can understand why people would bring their kids to see it. There were several young children in the theater when I saw it. It’s not really a show for kids, although they might enjoy it anyway. But this is not an easy “happily ever after” fairy tale. Things get complicated in the woods.
Other movies I’m dying to review! I’ve also see Wild and The Imitation Game recently. I’d like to talk about Birdman, too. And there might be a double review of The Hobbit coming at some point, so please stay tuned!