I saw the Broadway version of "Into the Woods" in the 80's with Bernadette Peters just a few days after I saw "Les Miserables" with the original cast. Obviously the latter production may have been the most powerful show ever combined with legendary songs (and hence ruined my ITW experience).
Fast forward to today. Recalling my live experience of ITW along with my generally unfavorably experience of seeing Broadway musicals transferred to the big screen, I wasn't amped to see this new movie.
However, the time slot fit and I have great respect for Meryl Streep and so journeyed "Into the Mall" (sorry folks…couldn't resist).
I had a pretty good work out just a few hours earlier, the seats were comfortable and the theatre was warm…I knew I was going to go down for the count. Yet the movie which was an amalgamation of Brother's Grimm fairy tales actually worked for me (at least for a good while).
This mutual fund of childhood fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack in the Beanstalk) revolving around a scavenger by the baker and his wife was clever and fun. Visually, this movie presents very well without any crazy special effects…just ones that work.
Then add in a killer cast of the aforementioned Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna "the teeth" Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and I was having fun.
The story was very clear and the music nice but not legendary and yup the eyes started to close. But I'm not faulting this film for that at all and they were just little catnaps.
Bigger issue for me was that at 2 hours and 5 minutes, this movie was a good 20 minutes too long. Reminded me of a British farce that doesn't know when to end the hiccups, end the hurdles, the story. Seriously, if they had buttoned up whatever ending they wanted (even if it meant "curtailing the Tale", it would have been better.
I just didn't think the film was going to end and that didn't play well to me.