Into the Woods suffers from
serious cases of a) the cutes; b) the dull production design; c) the egregious
casting; and d) the sloppy direction. Let’s take the last part first. Is there
a reason we can’t see the giant? It’s not like we’re going to reveal a famous
person playing her. Budget problems? Otherwise it seems needlessly coy.
Casting: Johnny Depp as the wolf?
Snore. Those two child actors? The boy doing the street-urchin thing? The girl
doing the Hailee-Steinfeld-in-True Grit-thing but without the charm or
Regarding production design, if
you’re shooting the entire movie in the woods (or on sets made to look like the
woods), shouldn’t someone make an effort to not make it distractingly dull
looking? And back to directing, what’s with obscuring the actors’ faces?
Forgot about e) the
photography—that’s some dreary camera work. How many different ways can one
shoot trees? (In this movie, apparently two.)
As for the cutes, does director Rob
Marshall not know that Into the Woods is a send-up and deconstruction of
fairy tales (albeit a loving one)? So what’s with the earnestness of Cinderella
(Anna Kendrick) and Rapunzel? And the uneven tone overall?
That said—or questioned—there are
three good things about Into the Woods. First, Chris Pine gives, possibly,
the best supporting actor performance of the year as Cinderella’s Prince.
(Finally, he channels Shatner!) Second, Meryl Streep is nothing short of
wonderful—no surprise there. Third, it all eventually ends.
INTO THE WOODS
Streep, Pine and Emily Blunt
Santa Fe Reporter
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