Thursday’s Tale: Into the Woods (2014) Into the Woods (2014) by Walt Disney Pictures
Genres: Fairy tale, Fantasy

Released 12/25/14

Rating: PG

Into the Woods is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) -all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them

We all know the danger of seeing a movie after reading the book – the movie rarely lives up to its promise. While Into the Woods is based on a musical, not a book, we did see the musical a couple of years ago and it’s impossible not to compare the two. But the musical is based on fairy tales, which comes back to being based on books – all a little confusing really. But the plot, while involving lots of folks pulls it all together well.

I liked the movie, even if it didn’t quite live up to my expectations when I heard people saying run, don’t walk, to see it. It’s enjoyable, full of great characters and stories, ones we’re familiar with but whose stories don’t turn out the way they traditionally do. I think, for me, the live performance is a little better, but the movie is definitely worth seeing.

A couple of things:

I found the Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf scenes a bit odd, only because Red Riding Hood was so young and Johnny Depp’s wolf had the right amount of sexually-tinged creepiness for the story. It fit, just a little inappropriate for the younger set in the audience. Of course, it probably went over the head anyway, so who cares.

The princes are good and their “Agony” is funny, but the live version I saw was so much better. I think it’s something about the smaller setting and the interplay between the two.

Meryl Streep is, of course, excellent as the witch and her “Last Midnight” was riveting. David thought though that where it was the climax in the musical. here it was just another scene.

Final thing:

It’s a musical. a woman at the bank said she got annoyed because they sang just about everything. It’s a musical, expect singing, lots of it, and if that’s not your cup of tea, don’t go.

If you have never seen the show you should definitely head out to the theater this weekend. If you have seen it and enjoyed it, you should go see the movie version – you won’t be blown away but you’ll enjoy it. The settings and props and giants are so much bigger and fuller on the screen than they ever could be on the stage, for better or worse.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.