Christmas day could not have ended any better. We went to see “Into The Woods.” By the signs of the huge crowds at the Metreon Cinema in San Francisco, so did a lot of other people.
Based on the well known Grimm stories and fairy tale characters , Into the Woods came into being as a Broadway Musical Play in 1986 through the imagination of Sondheim and Lapine. In 1987 the play was recognized with several awards.
The journey from the play to the current film musical has been a fascinating one and one that has been documented. Well, the final product is a magnificent classic that will now live forever.
Into the woods is a mash up of sorts of several fairy tales but focuses on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and The Beanstalk. The central characters a baker and his wife must break a terrible curse that has left them childless. They must get items by the time of the full blue moon that each of the aforementioned fairy tale characters have some of them in their possession.
The one who has placed the curse is a witch played by Meryl Streep who is certainly the stand out star of this movie. She steals every scene with her wonderful, humorous, wicked and affectionate portrayal.
Kudos to James Corden who plays the lovable and flawed Baker who eventually finds himself and the courage to be the father he needs to be his baby.
Also stranding out are the children actors, Lilla Crawford ( Little Red Riding Hood) and Daniel Huttlestone (Jack). They hold their own in their scenes and are quite the performers.
Anna Kendrick as a more self aware Cinderella is wonderful playing against the very handsome but shallow Prince Charming, Chris Pine. Perhaps the best and most fun musical number is the duet between the two Princes, Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen singing “Agony.”
Of course, making their incredible talent known in the film was Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf and Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s Stepmother. Great performances.
This film was magical. It captivated me. It made me laugh. it was memorable. A classic was born on screen.