“Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see. And learn. Careful the wish you make, wishes are children. Careful the path they take – wishes come true, not free…”
The story of Into the Woods begins in a far off kingdom when the baker (James Corden) was just a child, his Father (Simon Russell Beale) was caught stealing magic beans from the vegetable garden of the Witch (Meryl Streep) next door. As punishment for losing the precious beans, the Witch was placed under a curse, which made her hideous in appearance. The Witch, in turn, cast an evil spell on the Baker’s household, cruelly insuring that the Baker and his Wife would forever be incapable of having a child.
Years later, when the Baker and his Wife (Emily Blunt) learn of the curse, they venture into the Woods to seek out the ingredients which will both reverse the spell and restore the Witch’s beauty. By the time the blue moon rises in three days’ time, something which only occurs once every 100 years, they must return with four items: a cow as white as milk, hair as yellow as corn, a cape as red as blood and a slipper as pure as gold.
On their journey into the Woods, they encounter Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), fleeing the palace in a pair of gold slippers, Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) on her way to Granny’s house while being pursued by the Wolf (Johnny Depp); the fair maiden Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) en route to the market to sell his cherished cow, Milky-White, to appease his exasperated Mother (Tracey Ullman). Each one on their own quest to fulfill a wish.
The third midnight approaches, and the Baker and his Wife, having produced the required ingredients through a combination of the bribery and deceit delivers them to the Witch. Soon the Witch’s curse is lifted, rendering her beautiful once more. The Baker and his Wife magically give birth to the child they so longed for. Cinderella breaks free from her evil Stepmother (Christine Baranski) and stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda (Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch) and marries her Prince (Chris Pine). Rapunzel is freed from exile by her Prince (Billy Magnussen), and the giant beanstalk, which sprouted from the magic beans Jack received in exchange for his cow, has led to riches beyond his Mother’s wildest dreams.
However, just at the moment of happily ever after, a terrifying, vengeful Lady Giant (Frances De La Tour) climbs dow from the beanstalk, wreaking destruction on the kingdom, the village and the enchanting forest. Forced to face the consequences of their desires, the group of characters who have befriended one another in the woods, must coe together and take responsibility for their actions before they can defeat the Giant. Only then will then discover the significance of each of their individual journeys.
Into the Woods is very different than any other Disney film because it is a modern twist on several classic fairy tales. I loved how the stories intertwined and explored the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, all tied together by an original story involving the Baker and his Wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the Witch, who has put a curse on them. The movie did a great take on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. I loved how this movie was dark, humorous, and musical all in one package.
Into the Woods opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th, 2014.