Into The Woods, Blu-ray (2014-2015)
Actors: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pint, Tracey Ulman, Johnny Depp
Director: Rob Marshall
Based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim; Screenplay by James Lapine
Studio: Walt Disney 126360 [3/24/15] (1 disc)
Video: 2.39:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Extras: Blu-ray = Complete Sondheim song that had to be cut: “She’ll Be Back,” “The Cast as Good as Gold,” “Deeper Into the Woods” – 4 pieces on the making of the film, Filmmaker commentary track by Marshall and Producer John DeLuca, Favorite music & lyrics from the movie with sing-along feature, Five easter eggs; DVD only = “Magic of the Woods”
Length: 125 min.
The film follows the original musical closely, but with lovely sets, images and special effects. This is not like your typical Disney animated feature; it has several deaths in it, but none are shown on screen and may fly right over the heads of children – teenagers may love it but it may not be suitable for the very young. Meryl Steep comes forward as the biggest attraction here – both her singing and acting being just perfect for the role of the witch. Johnny Depp is an expected delight as the wolf who hassles Little Red Riding Hood. He wears spats with his claws with his fur showing thru. And so is the little girl who plays Red Riding Hood – she previously starred in Annie.
The story is based on four different Grimm fairy tales, all mixed up and blended together. Of course there’s Cinderella, plus Jack and and the Beanstalk and Little Red, who all get mixed up in the efforts of a humble baker and his wife to have a child – attempting to reverse a curse put on them by the evil witch. Even Rapunzel gets in the picture, and Cinderella doesn’t even end up actually marrying the prince because he came onto another woman. The result is darker than expected, and becomes a sort of fairy tale for adults. The story seems to fit right into the recent trend to present the tales of the Brother Grimm as more grim than they have been presented before.
One of the actors in the extras says that she was surprised that she would be singing in this role, because she never had. Yet everyone is in top form vocally – there are no cring-worthy characters like Pierce Brosnan was in Momma Mia! And you can usually understand them without subtitles. The work of the set designers on the different aspects of the woods is also most interesting in the extras. Quite an adventure and a film well worth seeing!