Into The Woods is the film that'll satisfy the hungry, fairy tale loving five year old in all of us. It follows the story of a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), a married couple who are unable to have children. One day, the two are visited by their neighbour, who is also a witch (Meryl Streep). This witch announces that for a number of years she's had a curse placed on the baker's family that forbids him from having any children, but it's here that she also informs them of a way to remove the curse, which leads them on a wild, entertaining and magical adventure that combines all of your favourite fairy tale stories into a two hour long movie.
Honestly, I didn't go into this movie with high expectations. I enjoy musicals a lot, so don't go pulling that card on me, but I just wasn't really buying into the advertising, or word of mouth, for that matter. It was fine, but nothing special. Nothing really jumped out at me and made this a must see. I knew I was going to see it, like I do with almost every movie, and that was enough for me. So I sat down in the cinema, not really dreading the film, but not really bursting with enthusiasm either. I have to say, this film really surprised me. I wasn't expecting much and what I got was actually very entertaining. It was a pleasant surprise!
In terms of performances, all of the adult cast are stupendous. There's not a single adult performance that weighs this film down, they're all fantastic. Meryl Streep, who's character continuously pops up every so often, is great, but when is she not? Chris Pine may appear to over act, but trust me, that's just his character. There's other impressive cast members too, such as Anna Kendrick, James Corden and the brilliant Emily Blunt, but Johnny Depp is the only other one I feel I need to comment on.
Depp's character is odd, but like Meryl Streep, when are they not? His performance is, well, the usual Depp performance, except he's not given the spotlight this time. His character only plays a minor role, and it's not even too crucial a role either. As a matter of fact, he may give the funniest performance in the entire film, especially when he's seen dressed up as Red Riding Hood's grandmother. The only problem is that he collects about three minutes of screen time all up.
The child actors, on the other hand, aren't so fabulous, although there's only two that take centre stage. The rest of the cast members tend to step back and watch. The actors who play Red Riding Hood and Jack, from Jack and the Beanstalk, aren't too good. Sure, they're not excruciating, but they're nothing special. It may be Chris Pine's character that overacts, but it's not theres, and my god do they overact. Hey, at least they can sing... occasionally.
But the songs, yes, I should talk about the songs. To put it simply, they're good. After the film finishes, there's not an awful lot of words that'll be stuck in your head, with the exception of "I wish" as that appeared in just about every song sung. It's really just the tunes that are catchy. It's not as though the people singing these songs aren't great as the whole cast can sing rather well, it's just that they're not singable songs.
And finally, the film stays for just a bit too long. The film clocks in at approximately two hours and five minutes, and while everything that was told was mostly entertaining, the film really didn't need to be that long. This is a ninety minute long movie at most, and at one point it could've been. The film wraps up at about the ninety minute mark and it's a rather satisfying conclusion, but it then decided to continue the story on for another half an hour. While I liked what they did with the final act, it really wasn't necessary.
To sum up, Into The Woods was a pleasant surprise, full of enjoyable songs and stupendous performances from the adult cast, however the child cast aren't quite as amazing, the songs aren't singable and the film's just a little too long.