Mediocre movie gets lost in the woods

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unnamedBy Flynn Geraghty
Features Editor
If there’s one thing I love in this world it’s a good stage musical. I am positively enthralled by the colors, the costumes, the songs and everything in between. What amazes me most is that the cast can start off on a confined stage and somehow still manage to take the audience to some far off place.
While stage musicals always seem to amaze me, movie musicals never manage to provide the same splendor. Into the Woods is an excellent example of this.
It’s the tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood all told together. It may seem like a lot of unrelated stories for one movie, (and it kind of is) but the film ties them together pretty well.
The central focus of this movie is a baker and his wife (they don’t have real names for some reason. They could’ve thrown in a “Hey, Bobby. Come here a second, would ya?” or a “Looking saucy, Carol!”). The baker, played by James Corden, and his wife, played by Emily Blunt, want a child. But it turns out that the baker’s family had been cursed by a witch, played by Meryl Streep. The only way to reverse the curse is to bring the witch “The cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn and the slipper as pure as gold.”
It turns out that each of these items is owned by one of the aforementioned fairy tale characters: Jack has the cow, Little Red has the hood, Rapunzel has the hair and Cinderella has the slipper. So, the couple has to, one by one, go get the items from these mythical characters.
The movie’s story actually very hard to explain, because its plot is all a jumble. There’s also a very noticeable point where the movie changes plots entirely.
Not to mention, the movie has trouble juggling all of its characters. As soon as you get into one person’s story, it gets intertwined with another one and you end up having to go into that one as well. That’s one of main problems with the movie; there are way too many stories being thrown around. Altogether there are around six stories the movie tries to focus on. And on top of that, add about 100 minutes of songs.
Speaking of, none of the music hit hard with me. Sure, they were nice to listen to, but out of those 100 minutes, I could maybe sing 30 seconds. I can remember the teeniest bits and pieces, but nothing close a whole song. It’s probably because most of the soundtrack sounds very similar. And since the songs are so tightly packed together, it’s like one big blob of song.
But overall, my biggest problem with the movie was the choreography during songs. On stage, the actors will use the choreography to show emotion and open up the stage. In this movie, the characters did very little during the songs and the camera was very close to their face, so it made the whole thing seem tight. It’s not just this movie though. Very few movie musicals are able to provide the grandeur of a musical on the stage. Ones that come to mind are The Muppets and Enchanted and the reason they were able to do this was because they used the larger space to their advantage. This may be because they didn’t start off as stage musicals like Into the Woods did, but I digress.
After all of the faults mentioned above, I can’t say this movie is all bad. The acting and singing  is pretty good, especially from the two child actors, Lilla Crawford and Daniel Huttlestone. Meryl Streep is a delight, as always. And despite having it’s faults, I have to admit that I did have a good time watching it. There’s just something about seeing the wonderfully dark Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales being told up on the big screen that I really found myself liking.
While it might not be worth seeing in the theater, I suggest renting it and going on a journey into the woods.