A story of many intertwining fairy tales, in which a baker and his wife in order to get a child must attain four objects belonging to other fairy tale characters. Then it all goes to shit about an hour and a quarter in.
Ok, so for saying this is a family fairy-tale kind of story there is an awful lot of death. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not sure I’d bring little children to watch this because there is a lot of death (and it’s also pretty boring). Now I quite like a darker edge to my films, but I don’t think the makers had quite decided what kind of a film they were making, and in the process they’ve made something that won’t completely appeal to anyone.
There some good things about Into the Woods. Emily Blunt is very good (and about the only character you begin to root for), and Meryl Streep chew up the scenery like her life depended on it. Chris Pine is also quite entertaining. However, it is rife with flaws. In a musical one would imagine that the songs should be quite interesting. They aren’t. Every single song is too long, and sounds very similar to the last one. The musical high point is the prince’s “Agony” song, but even that isn’t what one would call memorable.
Then we come to the plot. What is going on? Why is it going on? Why does no one care that lots of people are dying? Why are lots of people dying? Is that really moral? Are a few questions you will ask whilst watching Into the Woods. But most importantly, you won’t actually care about the answers because the film ultimately is disengaging and boring. Well, at least it is by the end. I have to admit it was beginning to grow on me by about 40 minutes in, and I genuinely quite enjoyed the next 20, it had a couple of laughs and I began to like some characters. But then it just gets lost. It’s like the writers literally ran out of ideas and started to have characters randomly make out for no reason, characters die for no reason, and then sing about these things in an ever more dreary and forgettable way.
Overall, I would probably have quite enjoyed it if it had ended at about 75 minutes. But it didn’t. It ended at about 120. The songs are dull, the characters aren’t likeable enough and Meryl Streep isn’t in it enough.