Oh. Man. Geeze. I was trying to like this so SOOOO much. Like…. a whole lot more than just a little. All I ended up getting was the aforementioned “little”. I feel the need to preface this entire post by stating that I got into Musical Theatre because of this musical. “Into the Woods” was the very FIRST time I’ve ever performed and I landed the coveted role of the Baker, which is arguably the male lead given how much he was pushing the story along in addition to all the little Fairy Tale threads that wove into his own journey. That being said, let’s dive into this.
Before anything else occurs though, can I just point out how awesome Christine Baranski is in whatever she finds herself tied to? Whether it was Chicago, How The Grinch Stole Christmas or even one of the seminal gay movies of my youth that no one knows about: Jeffrey. By the way, if you’ve not seen that movie, you’re missing out on one of Patrick Stewart‘s most amazing portrayals as a gay man.
Now that THAT’s out of the way,what happened to my musical? First of all, although I knew they were going to remove some songs to, I guess, move the story along better for a screen adaptation for such a beloved musical, but no one ever said how much butchering would be done. I mean, the entire 2nd act seems absolutely rushed and using Cinderella’s wedding to segue into the darker portion of the musical without really outlining the 2nd wishes of our protagonists seems so corner-cutty (that’s a word, damnit!). Everything after the wedding seemed like such an after thought where we’re all just racing to the finish line.
I also wasn’t sure what tone they were going for. Maybe I understood the piece wrong when I did it, but I always saw Into The Woods as this psychotically dark fairy tale with unapologetically chipper and hammy characters that were so over-the-top that they only added to the disturbing shit flying about. Here, the characters all sort of did their own thing and portrayals, but it didn’t seem like they were really interacting with each other, if that makes any sense? It’s kind of like going to a buffet and seeing all these great dishes you would like to enjoy, but they don’t really go with each other. Speaking of “shit flying about”, I thought they downplayed the sheer grossness of the wolf. I mean, you completely lose the fact that he wants to sexually assault Red Riding Hood. Hello? Anyone that’s seen the Broadway Musical, knows he’s rocking out with his cock out.
As for The Princes and one of my celebrity husbands, Chris Pine, I thought they did great. My husband hated his performance saying that he was too much, and I guess I sort of see his point of view, but I actually thought he played it perfectly. He had that larger-than-life quality that I was looking to see from the Princes. He was pompous, self-righteous and had that “Big-Dick-Swagger” I would expect from such a womanizing character. Their performance of Agony was nearly spot on and probably my favorite part of the movie. I just wish they didn’t cut the reprise of it. Oh well. I’ll see more of Mr. Pine in whenever the next Star Trek sequel lands.
All in all, it was OK. I’m glad I saw it and I definitely enjoyed it enough not to regret having seen it, but I really REALLY wanted a little more from this movie. It also didn’t help that my husband hated it so much that he spent most of the time playing video games on his phone. I’m pretty sure, he was as Angry as the Birds he was flinging across the screen.
PS though? Meryl Streep’s performance? UHHH-MAZING! Gurl can stay!