5 Reasons Why I Loved The Into The Woods Movie.
Like so many folks out there, seeing a movie on Christmas day has become a tradition. I’m not sure when movie goin’ on 12/25 became such a thing, but it has (and it says a lot about how our society has changed over the past 50 years). Yesterday, me and my new in-law family went to a local the-ate-er in Indiana and took in Into The Woods.
I liked it. We all liked it. And here are my top five reasons why:
1. SING! SING! SING!
Simply put – I loved Into The Woods because they cast singers! I know, I know, movie musicals have got to go for the star power, and sometimes, on the smaller screen, voice has to take a back seat to acting (or “look”). There have been some decent singers in the other movie musicals, but this time, all of the stars could sing like champs. I’d cast them in a Broadway show any day of the week. Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt . . . and that Meryl Streep. I think that girl is going someplace. Like maybe to the Oscar podium once again.
2. I KNOW THINGS NOW, MANY BEAUTIFUL THINGS
I’ve seen Into The Woods at least a “baker’s” dozen times, and listened to it a hundred times more. And still, it’s a tad bit confusing (Sondheim can write that way, let’s face it), especially that opening number with its multiple locations. In the movie, it was super clear who everyone was, where they were headed and what the heck they wished for. And the folks I was with that didn’t know the plot or all the lyrics to “You’re Fault!”? They got it right away.
3. JIMMY, MY JIMMY
If you saw James Corden in One Man, Two Guv’nors, then you know the guy is one of the best comedians to step on a stage (and now a screen) in a long while. And although I was crushed that “No More” was cut, it was great seeing him perform a classic musical theater role . . . because we’re not going to get to see him do that again . . . maybe ever. Sure, he was set to play Pseudolus in A Funny Thing this spring, but when he got the hosting gig on The Late Late Show, the production, and our dreams of the next great Broadway comedian, went poof.
4. YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON STAGE
Whenever you choose an artistic medium of expression (book, play, movie), you have to make sure there is a reason that medium is better than the others. This is especially hard when taking one form and adapting it to another. Well, Into The Woods is about a magical fairy tale place. And the visual effects they added to it made it that much more awesome. The woods, the witch . . . the wardrobe. The effects enhanced the story, and they made it even richer, while still paying homage to the original stagecraft (How about Little Red and Grandma in the wolf’s tummy!).
5. STEVE GETS A SECOND
In one of my very first blogs, I wrote that I thought Sondheim was like the Shakespeare of the Musical Theater – a genius, but not necessarily something you want to watch all the time. What’s super exciting is that in the modern era of musical movies (post Chicago, which restarted the revolution), Sondheim has had two movie musicals made. While he hasn’t had the most commercial Broadway life lately (and nothing new, sadly), it’s awesome to see his classics head to the screen . . . and be seen by mass audiences who might not see them any other way. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll head to Broadway the next time there’s a revival.
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