On Dec 17 – the closing night of the 11th Dubai International Film Festival at Madinat Jumeirah, an immaculately-dressed crowd waited impatiently to view Disney and Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the acclaimed musical Into the Woods. Why? Well, with a star cast featuring the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp and Chris Pine, it was sure to be a witty and comical rendition of the well-known Brothers Grimm fairytales.
The film brings together the plots of memorable childhood tales – Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella- with the central story of a baker and his wife, showing us the real-world consequences of the whims and fancies of these characters (it’s not all rainbows and butterflies]. Although at the heart of the film, there are several strong messages, and the tunes are catchy, it dreadfully lacks comic relief and loses soul and focus with time (even the hilarious acting of hunky Chris Pine couldn’t keep us long).
This is not to say that the acting wasn’t remarkable and the intricate set design wasn’t impressive, but there is something amiss in the film – suspense, tension and most of all, a clear direction. When it comes to length, it was expected that the film version of the play would be trimmed, but in quest of remaining true to the original and showing emotional depth of the characters, Marshall lost the spell that he so effectively cast in the beginning.
Into the Woods begins with zest and ends with a ‘I wish.. this film had been shorter’
B-Change gives it a 6.5/10, recommending.. Don’t go into the woods.
What is happening in this movie?