The long-awaited film“Into The Woods,” has plenty of charming, but it is still a fairly chaotic musical that lacks any catchy tunes that you can’t get out of your head.
The songs kind of zip along, but without any magnetic snap to them. And much about the show seems forced and irrelevant with lyrics that wander around looking for rhymes and for conclusive melodies, as well.
There are at least five childhood fables intertwined together to make up the story, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and the Childless Baker and his Wife. These are tied together by Rapunzel’s mother who happens to be an old, unsightly witch (played by Merly Streep), who wants her youth and beauty back. But this will take the Baker (played by James Corden) and his Wife (played by Emily Blunt) to fetch four objects she herself cannot touch. Those items are hair as yellow, a cape as red as blood, a golden slipper and a cow as white as milk – coincidentally items that define Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack, who is on his way (through the woods) to sell an all-white cow at the market.
While none of this particularly adds up, what is supposed to look like whimsy, just looks like chaos resolved by coincidence. That would be OK, if the songs were memorable. But, they’re not.
There are some enchanting special effects, some fun performances (Streep, Depp, Blunt and Corden, particularly) and some solid singing, albeit with a weak moment or two. But the lesson to be learned here is that timeless fairy tales are timeless, because only the timeless ones survived. Tossing them all together just doesn’t add any symbiosis to the whole effort – and the are no great songs to carry the day.
To read the full, three-minute review, click here.