Into the Woods, the film version! I have not seen the theater version, so my views will not be based around that. From interviews with the cast, I knew there was a bit of music in it. The film turned out to be a full-on dark musical. And yes, this film is dark. It’s a lot more based on original fairy tales rather than the recent children versions.
Be wary of mild spoilers!
That means I would not recomment taking kids to the film. They would also need to know at least the stories of four separate fairy tales just to understand why some of the things are happening as the events are based on the Grimms brothers version rather than later adaptions. Either way, probably a bit dark for the kids.
The film is called Into the Woods and boy do they spend a lot of time in the woods. It’s not the pleasant kind of woods. You got fifties gangster wolves (the big bad wolf) and it’s not really a bright place. Little Red Riding Hood’s red hood is singly the most colorful thing in the film, almost unnaturally so when compared to the rest.
Being a musical, the music in the film is great. They don’t do an overblown dance number, opting more for natural actions while singing. I enjoyed all of the actors and their singing. I know from interviews that some of the songs weren’t live, but it’s still good. The way they act and move is a bit reminscent of stage theater. There is a dramatic flair to a lot of things that add to the fairy feel of the movie.
The first act goes on much like a normal fairy tale, with happy endings all around. The songs are humerous with the characters doing all sorts of crazy stuff during them.
Oh, notice how I said first act? Happy ending? I was lying. It is a happy middling. Stuff starts going down later on that brings the story out of fairy tale mode and into real life mode. I won’t go into it too much, but it’s safe to say that the second part is the dark part of the movie.
While the second part might seem like an entirely too-long, I think it’s needed. Otherwise the story would be too much like just another mash-up of different stories. It’s the second part that gives it the difference and memorability.
The main character all shows some great singing, and the film is (apparently) still lighter than the original theater production. If you want a musical, this film will greatly fill that desire. If you want some dark, twisting intersecting fairy tales, this will also do that. (Though twisting intersecting fairy tales seem to be all the rage). There’s a bit of realism about this one that makes it memorable.