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Movie Review: ‘Into The Woods’ is a great family movie with new tales from familiar characters

by Matt Roseboom

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By Matt Roseboom

Just so there aren’t any surprises, there are three things you need to know before seeing Disney’s “Into The Woods”. It’s a musical. It’s a comedy. It’s a very good movie.

The reason I mention those things are because it can be very jarring to be watching a movie you didn’t know is a musical and the actors start singing for no particular reason. Also because Disney isn’t fully promoting the movie as a musical, or that it’s funny.

Before Disney announced this movie, I had never seen the Broadway play or even heard of “Into The Woods”. So this review is coming from someone with no prior knowledge of the story. It begins with a “once upon a time” and tells an original story using the fairy tale characters from Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood. There’s also a baker, his wife and a witch.

IntoThe Woods movie posterThe baker and his wife wish to have a baby, but they can’t because of a spell placed on them by the witch. She will reverse the spell if they can collect certain items, which they can take from the other fairy tale characters, who all have a reason to head into the woods at the same time. It’s a well put together and funny plot. There’s a particularly laugh out loud scene with the two princes.

As with any musical, there’s a lot of singing. Much of it from actors you may not have realized could sing. Luckily for us, all of the actors are very good singers. The songs are also very catchy. I was especially impressed with the kids in the movie, Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack. They’re not only great singers, but the lyrics of some of the songs they sing are complicated and the pacing is fast. They did a great job. Some of the other stars include:

Anna Kendrick as Cinderella
Meryl Streep as The Witch
Johnny Depp as The Wolf
Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince
James Corden as The Baker
Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife
Mackenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel
Tracey Ullman as Jack’s Mother
Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince
Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s Stepmother

Even though this is a Disney movie and the movie features some famous Disney characters, these aren’t the versions you’re familiar with. Don’t expect the same Cinderella and Rapunzel characters or stories you know from the cartoon versions. This version is a bit darker and more adult, although the movie is still fine for most children to see.

My only problem with the movie is its length. It’s just over two hours long. It seemed like it went on a bit too long for me. Maybe like a broadway play, it could use an intermission.

“Into The Woods” is rated PG. It opens Christmas Day. It’s not available in 3D and there is no extra scene at the end of the credits.

Of course, you can meet Cinderella and Rapunzel in the Disney parks, but as I said, these are much different versions. I haven’t seen any sign of “Into The Woods” being represented in the theme parks yet. At most, you may find some merchandise at some point.

Here’s a look at the trailer:

Into The Woods Trailer - Now Playing In Theaters!

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