Into the Woods, one of the most beloved Broadway musicals by legendary composer Stephen Sondheim made its way onto the silver screen this Christmas Day. Much skepticism arises when word of a feature film adaptation of a stage musical begins to run amuck, but it seems as if this Sondheim classic made an excellent transition from stage to screen.
Filled to the brim with top-notch actors, Into the Woods is comprised of a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp and the incomparable Meryl Streep. The stars take on various roles that are rather familiar to anyone who has ever read a fairytale. The likes of famous characters such as Cinderella, Rapunzel and the Witch that keeps her locked in a tower and the Big Bad Wolf among others are the characters that audiences go on a journey with. Although they come from childhood tales, these particular versions of the characters feature much deeper adult themes than typically remembered.
The film deals with many metaphorical situations that include adultery, loss of virtue and being careful what one wishes for. As the film is produced by Disney, a major family-oriented company, many of the more mature themes weren’t brought to light as much as they were in the original Broadway production, although they were still prevalent. As the movie is rated PG, any family should feel comfortable bringing their children to see it. There are a great many life lessons for children and adults in the dialogue of the film, some that many of the greater public often forget about. Into the Woods is an excellent refresher to remind all that see it of what it truly means to be a human being.
Director Rob Marshall flawlessly blends what is very well known as a two-act musical into a three-act production that flows very smoothly with no lag time whatsoever. Although some of the dialogue and lyrics were changed from the original production, the film version of Into the Woods undoubtably provides all that any fan of the show could wish for. The necessary changes are due to a number of reasons, one being that it has been two-and-a-half decades since audiences first saw the production, insinuating that the language had been modernized ever so slightly.
The cinematography of the film is simply breathtaking as audiences are able to be taken on a visual journey that was initially unfound in the Broadway show. Jack climbing the beanstalk, the history of the Witch’s curse and Little Red being swallowed alive by the Big Bad Wolf were previously only mentioned in the stage adaptation’s dialogue whereas the film actually plays out the scenes for a full visual effect.
Marshall stated that his decision to make Into the Woods into a film came when President Barack Obama was speaking at the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 trauma where the President exclaimed to the survivors, “You are not alone…no one is alone.” This is a direct lyric from one of the show’s most heart-wrenching numbers and it was then that Marshall believed it was his duty to create this film for the post 9/11 generation.
As the excellent transition from stage to film is made with Into the Woods, one can only hope that the world of entertainment will continue to provide such quality recreations. The film is now playing in theaters and a trailer for the movie can be viewed below.
Opinion by Cody Collier