By: Megan Williams
Disney has enchanted audiences once again in the movie adaptation of the beloved Sondheim-Lapine musical, Into The Woods. It follows your favourite fairytales; Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and The Beanstalk and Cinderella, bringing us past what we know, beyond ‘happily ever after’. The intertwining of these stories resulted in a brilliant musical for the stage, and now a brilliant film.
The transition from the stage to the big screen appears effortless, owed largely to the directing capabilities of Rob Marshall. His prowess in morphing musicals into film, as is plain in his work on Chicago and Annie, has never been clearer.
The veracity of the original story is reflected remarkably in the acting of the all-star cast. The often-romanticized fairy tale characters are presented as very much flawed, complex human beings, adding a fresh and authentic dimension to the stories we thought we knew so well. The rare honesty within these characters and the way in which they tackle their problems will resonate with audiences both young and old.
It is particularly impressive how, even when playing a character with relatively little screen time, Johnny Depp can essentially dwarf the rest of the cast. As the Wolf, Depp triumphs with a faultless balance of creepy and charming, sending chills down the spine with his unsettling appeal. Ultimately, though, the film belongs to Meryl Streep, who’s mesmerizing portrayal of the Witch is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression, earning her an Oscar nomination. Her rendition of ‘Stay With Me’ is hauntingly beautiful.
The announcement of Anna Kendrick to play Cinderella triggered a lot of skepticism, especially amongst musical theatre fans that believed she would not be able to overcome the vocal challenges that are inescapable in Sondheim’s music. Since the release of the movie, however, and her undeniably impressive performance of ‘On The Steps of the Palace’, the public opinion is almost in unanimous agreement that she was excellently cast in the role. She brings a kind of modernity and independence to Cinderella that is exciting and refreshing.
The one disappointing thing is the lack of diversity in the cast- the only person of colour being an unaccredited extra.
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LTLtalk is an entertainment blog that is part of LTLmagazine.