Film Review: Into the Woods

20 February 2015

By Lauren E. White

After hearing mixed reviews from critics about this film, I decided that it would be best if I found out exactly what Into the Woods was like and whether it had been given enough credit or not. Of course, this was after I found out that Kingsman was rated 15.

Into the Woods has some amazingly talented names including Meryl Streep as the witch, Johnny Depp as the big bad wolf, James Corden as the baker and Emily Blunt as the baker’s wife. It’s all good until you hear Anna Kendrick belt out the lyrics to ‘Into the Woods’ at the beginning of the film. She only gets more irritating as the film progresses.

It is a large shame that Disney have chosen to adapt this story from a stage play to a film as its hyperactive vibe is too large to be contained on a screen and, frankly, I really thought that Disney could do better. The film follows the journey of the traditional storybook characters: Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), Rapunzel and the love story of the baker and his wife. Streep’s witch put a despicable curse on the couple which means they cannot have children forcing a – barely tolerable – quest to providing the witch with the ingredients she needs in order for her to lift the curse.

All of this is great and we’re ready for the characters to live happily ever after, not to mention waving goodbye to Kendrick’s indecisive and thoroughly impossible to believe version of Cinderella. But just as that’s about to happen and my coat is on as I’m ready to leave the cinema, there’s a twist. Usually, I’d appreciate this, but, to be honest, it ruined the film. Instead, the wife of the giant from Jack’s beanstalk turns up and destroys the pathways of the characters. This is both destructive to the characters, but also to the reputation of the film.

Into the Woods is one step back from Frozen, as with Frozen, it seemed that Disney was making a move for the better for the youngest and most impressionable generation when they constructed the character of Elsa and made sure she didn’t simply marry herself off straight away. Yet, Into the Woods simply reverts back to the olden days of Disney with the female characters being chased around by two egotistical princes like objects in a video game. The lack of respect for the female characters in the film is painful to watch and it certainly does not make for good entertainment on any level.

Another issue with Into the Woods is the character of Johnny Depp’s big bad wolf. While it may be common knowledge that Little Red Riding Hood was originally a story of rape and how women should be wary of the dangers of it, a Disney adaptation should really have no connection with that what-so-ever. Depp’s wolf sings about a ‘juicy young girl’ when referencing to Red Riding Hood and how he wants to eat her. But, instead of the image of a wolf eating a child, anyone old enough to understand how wrong this is thinks of the wolf immediately as a paedophile. It is like you are watching a pervert go after a little girl right in front of your eyes. I’m not sure if this is what Disney really wanted their younger viewers to watch.

All in all, I think it’s best if we all stay out of the woods… perhaps we’ll wait for Kingsman to come out on DVD instead.

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