SYNOPSIS: From the director of Chicago and the producer of Wicked comes a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales you thought you knew. Meryl Streep stars in this epic musical saga about daring to venture Into The Woods. Iconic characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel find their fates intertwined with a humble baker and his wife whose longing to have a child sends them on a quest to reverse a witch's curse. With an all-star cast, this spell-binding adventure is everything you could ever wish for! 


After helming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Academy Award winning director Rob Marshall is back doing what he does best – turning a Broadway musical into a feature film. 

The star studded Into The Woods is a terrific mix of satire and charming storytelling involving familiar fairy tales. A childless baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) spearhead this inventive magical story. In order to have the witch (Meryl Streep) lift their dreadful curse, the couple has to help her search for four items. Along the way into the woods, they met numerous characters such as Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), the Prince (Chris Pine), little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and the wolf (Johnny Depp), each and everyone has a story to tell and songs to serenade.  

In order to make the adaptation as children-friendly as possible, Marshall with the blessings of original writers Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine sacrificed violence and sexual intones for a far more approving watching experience. Still, the movie speaks much of its original messages about lust, insecurity and abandonment. I’m pretty sure the mature audience will get the meanings while the slightly younger ones will lap up the songs, which are often made up of clever wordplay and simplistic usage of the English language.

Act 1 and Act 2 is enormously entertaining as the material moves at a frenetic pace intertwining the fate of the various characters. The dialog flows naturally with the songs. The costume, cinematography and production design is uncompromising. Unfortunately, the adaptation is letdown by the last act which in short, is a clumsy assembling of questionable motives and actions after an attack by the wife of a Giant. There’s nothing more disappointing than to see a wondrous magical story dissolving into a long-draggy contemplative ending.   

It’s for sure contemporary high-tech music editing has a hand in this but the actors on the whole did a fantastic job showcasing their vocal talents. Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and of course, the pitch-perfect Anna Kendrick serve as the highlights while Chris Pine as the charming yet insincere Prince is a surprise turn. It would be nice to see someone else besides Depp as the wolf but then who can substitute for the same wacky star wattage as him. 


The Magic of the Woods has the main cast and filmmakers talking about bringing the musical to life. 


Despite a mostly dark palette, Into the Woods looks gorgeously beautiful and sharp. The 5.1 surround track offers a clear mix of dialog and singing with strong rear speaker activity.  



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine, Baranski and Johnny Depp. Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Frances de la Tour, Simon Russell Beale, Richard Glover, Joanna Riding, Annette Crosbie
Director: Rob Marshall
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2014


- The Magic of the Woods


Languages: English/Spanish/Thai
Subtitles: English/Mandarin/French/Korean/Bahasa Indonesia/
Bahasa Malay/
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 5 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: HVN Entertainment Singapore