Ecstatic. That’s a good way to describe how I felt going to see Into the Woods. While I am extremely fond of the show, unlike Morgen (Part one can be found here) my history with it is short. I was first introduced to the soundtrack from Into the Woods in 2010 when I checked the cd out from the library. Later, in 2012, I was finally able to watch the Bernadette Peter’s version in preparation for my senior musical.
This show is popular, it has a following, it’s Sondheim. But In my way of thinking, it hasn’t reached as far as Les Miserables. So if Disney remaking it was going to expose more people to the wonderful show, I was happy.
I knew two things going into that darkened theatre:
- It was probably Disney-fied.
- Disney-fied: watering down something for the approval
- Because I was part of a different interpretation of the show, I was extremely open to whatever Rob Marshall threw at me. After all, the slotted spoon can catch the potatoes and unless the actual plot was significantly changed, small adjustments would not ruin the show for me.
[OPEN CURTAIN, LIGHTS UP] ENTER, STAGE RIGHT
“Once upon a time”
Wonderful. I was blown away with how well the show was transformed into a move. I was instantly drawn into the woods world. With a show as brilliantly written as this, it’s not that it needed the fluff, sparkle, and pizazz that a film adaptation allows. Like my friend said, “the magic was always in the beans” the magic is in the writing more than it is in the telling.
I thought the all of the actors were wonderful with maybe the exception of Johnny Depp as the wolf. I’m a huge Johnny Depp fan and I admire his acting ability to transform into every character so deeply that I’m not reminded of his other characters. I’ve heard a lot of criticism that his portrayal of the wolf was creepy. But wasn’t he supposed to be creepy? It’s the nature of the wolf.
One of the biggest characters to get adjusted to was Meryl Streep as the witch. Meryl Streep is phenomenal; I think we can all agree on that point. I knew the character was in good hands. Bernadette’s version is classic… well, Bernadette. Sassy. Snarky. Boom. Crunch.
But that’s not Meryl Streep and I think if she had tried to adapt that persona, she could have… but then people would have criticized that she was not as (see adjectives above) as Bernadette’s version. No, I applaud Meryl Streep for taking a character that has been played the same way for so many years and changing it and because she is such a strong actress, she never strayed from that choice. And she sold it.
Emily Blunt was astonishing. Honestly I loved her more than the original actress. I don’t even know if I can put into words how much I loved her. Because I played Little Red, I loved how she was kind to Little Red and didn’t mind at all that she stole more food than she paid for. I was thrilled they didn’t leave out MOMENTS in the woods and I loved watching her face through that scene.
Chris Pine and Billy Magnusen (Can we get the Agony scene on loop?) were wonderful as the princes: shallow and vain (although did Chris Pine look older than normal?)
Jack = Gavroche = ACTOR. Brill. Bright-eyed and adventurous. I loved seeing the character played by a child, not an adult.
Since I played Little Red I suppose I should also mention I did love her. I’m not going to criticize her vocals. She copied the flat-toned quips like the original actress. And she did it well. But a film allows the audience to be fully engaged with your facial expressions and I wish that she had stayed away from constant deadpanned expressions.
It was great to see some of the aspects of the film made much more dynamic without the constraints of the stage. The Witch’s entrance and exits. Especially when she was hanging upside down from that tree! Having an actual giant, instead of just a papier-mâché marionette.
My regrets about this movie are few but lie in what was omitted, because the thing about being in a musical, you tend to memorize most of the script and all of the songs. It started early… in the first song. Because Jack’s mother… she was not quite beautiful. And sometimes, she fears he’s touched. I really missed AGONY 2. Ask a wolf’s mother. I feel like there were more, but it’s been a month since I’ve seen it last. (This post was a long time coming. ) Some things were missed but didn’t alter the story too much. Rapunzel’s death, Last Midnight SONGS, the presence of a narrator, or the mysterious man. And I was surprised that they didn’t disney-fy it more. I was expecting more to be cut out.
EXIT, STAGE LEFT. [LIGHTS DOWN, CLOSE CURTAIN]
PSA: If you read both of these posts and ever asked yourself: “Who’s Bernadette Peters?” Please, educate yourself, your life will be so much better