Momma Told Me: Head Into The Woods This Holiday Weekend

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Head Into The Woods This Holiday Weekend

Into The Woods Film
Momma Told Me: Stay a child, while you can be a child.

I haven't hit the theaters too hard these past few months with my partners in crime, aka my movie dates (Sabrina and Savannah) having moved to Texas. Truth be told, I was also holding out for those coveted holiday releases; it's sort of a tradition to visit the theater Christmas weekend and explore the blockbuster event of the year. This year heading into the holiday, I was a bit skeptical of what I might be watching. With The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part I already on old rotation from Thanksgiving, and a thirst for something over-the-top-cinematic, Into The Woods was a natural candidate. Luckily, there just so happened to be a screening in Austin last week while I was visiting the family for the holidays.
Into The Woods Film
If you know nothing of the name, the trailers for Into The Woods may elude you to the true focus of music as an element in this film. While I suspect the raving reviews and nomination boasting television spots will soon set things straight, the initial teasers were quite mild in their representation of the film as a musical. That is to say, if you were to buy a ticket, unfamiliar with the theatrical production of the same name, you would have quite a shock as the opening song trails off into yet another melodic section. But fear not- whilst the uninitiated may cringe initially at the first few rhymes, it's nearly impossible not to be won over by the all-star cast and vivid storytelling. From wardrobe to set and cinematography, the film feels like a living storybook,

And it should, after all, Into the Woods is an imagined retelling of the intertwined fates of some of the most beloved fairytales. From Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bag Wolf to Rapunzel and Cinderella, each of these characters find themselves 'in the woods' learning a valuable lesson. And speaking of lessons- you'll find the original themes of each story prominent throughout, but the ultimate message seems to be 'Be Careful What You Wish For.' And, as cliche as that sounds, as the character's actions spiral downward into one greater tale, it's easy to see how we, as viewers are asked to reflect on the inventory of our own lives, and how we prioritize the goals within them.
Into The Woods Film
But what of the actual film? Is it a success? As a beloved theatrical production on the big screen it is an overwhelming triumph- as a movie, it is sure to not be everyone's cup of tea, but infectious and  nearly impossible to escape should the skeptics sit it out. In the end, the number of characters really are quite small, which allows for them to be properly composed and brought to life on their own, before colliding in the greater tale towards the end. You should expect each and every scene to have a song, which not only tells the story, but has brilliant anecdotes on the human condition peppered in. This is, without a doubt, a comedy just as much as it is a musical.  And the all-star cast that lined up to star in it are so perfect for their roles you'll immediately forget any history of them outside their costume.
Into The Woods Film
As only a theatrical production could, Into The Woods plays with the viewers emotions vacillating from riotous laughter to intense introspection with contrasting scenes such as Chris Pine (Cinderella's Prince) and Billy Magnussen (The Other Prince) belting out 'Agony' alongside Witch Meryl Streep's hauntingly emotional rendition of 'Stay A Child.' It was quite odd indeed to still feel the warm tears of laughter, yes I caught myself clutching my side during the Princes number, as a more poignant and emotional scene unfolded just moments later. As a viewer I was indeed along for the ride from one scene to the next.
Fans of the original 'Into The Woods' theatrical production will surely find enjoyment in this big screen re-imagining, but I fear there are a few theatrical elements that were just a touch too over the top. Some of the Witch's more dramatic scenes could have gone a few seconds shorter for me, while the creepy, almost unnerving, clips with Johnny Depp seemed to work my nerves. Ironically, some of the more absurd moments (Slow Motion Prince and Cinderella In The Tar, Princes On Waterfall) worked quite ingeniously as standout scenes. In all, the film is perfect for families, but perhaps in message a movement easier to follow for kids a little older (7+), while adults will appreciate some of the more cheeky dialogue and music.

Should you see this film? Yes. Be sure to catch it in theaters, and even with a group- everyone is sure to have their thoughts on favorite scenes and theatrical interpretations to discuss after. But be warned, you WILL be singing the songs for days- I've already downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes, and I plan on visiting it in theaters again soon! And my other partners in crime? Mother Savannah admitted she couldn't get the film out of her head and placed it up there with Malificent, while 12 year-old Sabrina called it an 'odd film' that was a 'lot of fun' and 'worth seeing again.'  Into The Woods opened Christmas Day and is playing at theaters nationwide, for more information visit the official website.

What Daughter Says: Recall what it was like to discover your favorite fairytale characters all over again, with Into The Woods.


20 comments:

  1. I want to see this so bad, but my husband won't go see it with me LOL. I might have to go solo :)

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  2. I can not wait to go see this with my girls! It looks like a really good movie.

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  3. I loved, loved, loved this film. I now have the sound track and I'm listening to it all the time, I can't wait to see it again!

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  4. I have heard great things about this movie, and I can't wait to see it! We are going to try to go to the movies this weekend.

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  5. Oh man, I am dying to see this movie! I love the music and all my friends have been going to see it. I want to go see it. just need to get a babysitter so I can go.

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  6. This looks like such a great movie! I'll have to take my daughter to go see it.

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  7. I cannot wait to see Into the Woods! I think it will be one of my favorite Disney movies yet!

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  8. I loved this movie. It's one of my favorite Disney movies so far.

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  9. We saw the female stars on Ellen and it made me want to see the movie even more!

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  10. I got to see this a few days ago with my husband and 7-year old daughter. We loved it. For the rest of the day I felt compelled to sing instead of talk, it was hilarious.

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  11. I haven't seen this yet, but I can't wait. So many great artists that it can't be bad!

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  12. I can't wait to see this! It looks amazing, and the cast is incredible.

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  13. I saw this at a screening in LA. I really hate musicals and the only ones I've ever liked were Rock of Ages and Grease. LOL! So I was nervous that I wouldn't like it - but I DID! I would have liked it without the music too, but I really felt like the musical numbers helped carry the movie from scene to scene and really were an important part of the movie.

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  14. I haven't seen much about this show yet. It sounds good though so I will need to check it out!

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  15. This is going to be so great! I can't believe the cast they pulled together for this.

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  16. I loved seeing this movie!! It is one of my favorite non animated Disney movies that they have made so far!

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  17. I am really looking forward to this movie. I love musicals!

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  18. This looks like such a great movie! I'll have to take my son to go see it.. I think I need it!
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