TTC contributor Christine Jones has a personal blog called The Beautiful Extras where she discusses basically anything that strikes her fanciful fancy… primarily in the form of fashion, pop culture, cats, DIY, and dating her handsome husband.
With Christine’s permission, we’ve reposted her recent review of Disney’s film adaptation of Into the Woods, which is now out on DVD and available in various digital formats. Christine opens her observations with a couple brief notes on the film’s artistic achievements and concludes with a thoughtful collection of the musical’s “kernels of wisdom.” It’s like a TTC review in mini. Enjoy!
I know Into the Woods has been out for a while (since Christmas) but if you still haven’t seen it yet, here are 5 reasons you should:
1. The Songs
Stephen Sondheim is one of the foremost songwriters of the 20th century, and he continues working into the 21st. He’s equally brilliant at lyrics and music, and while you could just buy the soundtrack to experience his amazing talent, the songs are even better in their dramatic context. So many people miss Sondheim’s work because they’re not musical theatre nerds. Well, Into the Woods brings Broadway to the big screen, so you no longer have an excuse not to experience the artistic genius of Sondheim.
2. The actors can sing
How many movie-musicals have you seen that sacrifice singing for big-name talent? Well, in Into the Woods you get big-name talent and good singing — and it’s not easy to live up to some of the performances from the original Broadway cast. This cast doesn’t quite sing at Broadway levels, but for a bunch of pretty Hollywood types, they are quite good.
3. Chris Pine is hilarious
I was skeptical about Chris Pine for this film, but his part was rolling-in-the-aisles funny.
4. The Baker = Craig from Doctor Who
Craig is one of my favorite Doctor Who characters from two of my favorite Doctor Who episodes. He’s just as endearing in Into the Woods, plus I get to imagine all sorts of fun Doctor Who/Into the Woods crossovers.
5. This fairy tale may not have a moral, but it has a lot to teach.
Into the Woods doesn’t complicate the classic fairly tales simply for the sake of being cool or clever. Sondheim’s take on these stories helps us think about why we tell the stories we tell, about how to live with moral ambiguity, about the consequences of wishes, about how to build community and family. A few of my favorite kernels of wisdom from the show:
“Nice is different than good”
“No one is alone”
“If life were only moments, Then you’d never know you had one”
“Witches can be right; Giants can be good…”
I hope you’ll take the time to see Into the Woods before it leaves theatres. It’s a journey worth taking.