Star studded casts can truly either make or break a film. Luckily, in the case of “Into the Woods”, the cast truly makes it a worthy watchable film.
For those (like me) who don’t know the story going into the film, it is a musical about a baker and his wife who are unable to have a child because of a curse by the witch next store on the baker’s father years ago. The witch can offer them a child if they help her bring back four ingredients to help her regain her glorious looks (since, you know, all the effective witches in cinema are ugly). Each of the ingredients coincide with classic fairtales: the hood as red as blood (Red Riding Hood), the cow as white as milk (Jack and the Beanstalk), the hair as yellow as corn (Rapunzel), and the slipper as pure as gold (Cinderella).
Now let us look at the cast. First there is the baker and his wife, played by James Corden (the future host of the Late Late Show) and Emily Blunt (always lovable and no exception here). Young talented Daniel Huttlestone (who was the boy Gavroche in Les Miserables) is Jack, and his mother is the legendary Tracy Ullman. Anna Kendrick is Cinderella (with a perfect evil step mother portrayel by Christine Baranski). The biggest surprise of the movie is Chris Pine as Prince Charming, who gets the most laughs (and, for me, the best song, “Agony”). Also, we get Johnny Depp as Red Riding Hood’s wolf (who reminded me a lot of Honest John from Disney’s original “Pinocchio”).
Oh, and then there is Meryl Streep as the witch. It is another performance that shows Streep is the only actress to ever NOT be miscast in a movie.
All the songs are fun, the comedy is great, and even some parts of drama I did not expect. Parents, there is nothing too wrong with the film for any kid (despite some dramatic scenes).
The problem with the film, as I said before, is the running time. Luckily, the last third of the film was still well made (as we would expect from director Rob Marshall, he of “Chicago” fame), but it was also not really necessary. Still, the movie is, as cliché as it sounds, fun for the whole family.
Overall: 3 1/2 Stars ***1/2