Short Spoiler Free Movie Review: A couple of weeks ago I attended an advanced sreening of the latest Disney movie to relaunch previously-existing stories--"Into The Woods". Unlike most other Disney fare, this story is not based on a single fairy tale; rather it is a mashup of multiple stories featuring a cornicopia of classic characters including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Jack (of the beanstalk and not of the candlestick although it wouldn't surprise me if a live-action movie was made about a nimble Jack having to quickly jump over a candlestick for some reason. Hollywood--if you steal my idea please give me royalties, or at least put my name in the credits). But I digress. "Into The Woods" originated as a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine with Bernadette Peters as the Witch. Although I saw a recording of the Broadway version in band back in high school as well as a live performance some years ago at my alma mater (and one time Final Four competitor!) George Mason University, I have forgotten many of the details so that I cannot now point out any changes Disney may have made.
But let's get "into the movie" and state that the Disney movie sports an all star cast--wiith a short, but relatively memorable, appearance by Johnny Depp as the granny-eating wolf. It was also nice to see Tracy Ulman (whose comedy show back in the 80's gave "The Simpson's" their start) working again and playing Jack's mother. Jack is played by a boy who reminds me of the lad in the movie version of "Les Miserables"--the most recent version starring "Wolverine" and not "Qui Gon Jinn"--and that is probably because it ended up being the same actor. You've also got Meryl Streep under layers of makeup as the witch and Pitch Perfect's Anna Kendrick as Cinderella.Chris Pine stars as a charming prince and appears in a scene with another prince--splashing around and hamming it up with tongue-in-cheek bravado and chest baring that had me laughing out loud. All they really needed in that scene to further "cheese it up" (in a good way) was to have "Two Princes" by the "Spin Doctors" playing in the background.
Speaking of songs, the music is enjoyable but I don't think the younger set will necessarily memorize any of the lyrics besides those that I know which consist of "Into the woods duh dah dah duh duh dum dum dum duh dah dah dah into the woods duh dum duh dum duh dum!" Please note that the only line I really remember is "into the woods".
Speaking of kids, they probably would enjoy the movie; I think I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn't had a complementary ticket for an advanced screening. Adults will likely appreciate a scene involving women fighting over Cinderella's slipper that is vaguely reminiscent of brides-to-be tussling over dresses in "Filene's Basement". All-in-all, you'll probably have a good time if you go Into This Movie.