I finally watched it on Tuesday, so now it is my turn to talk. I came away disappointed, but I still admired many parts that remained in the movie.
I have a lots of thoughts, so this is part one of two—we’ll discuss Act II tomorrow. For now, let’s ride.
I Missed the NarratorWithout the Narrator, the story felt more passive. When the Narrator was there, you actively watched the story unfold with the characters—in the movie, it was told by a character who knew the story and was hardened because of it. Also, the Narrator’s death was the best. Like, how often is it that the Narrator dies partway through the story?
The Bakers Were Nameless, and That Was GoodI didn’t think about this before, but I’m glad that the Baker and the Baker’s wife had no names. See, they don’t actually come from a fairy tale, the Bakers. They’re ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary story. And here’s a secret—we are those ordinary people, too. It’s a clever way to associate the characters with the audience, and I’m glad that wasn’t lost by giving the characters names in the film.
The Bean Rap Was Not the Bean RapMeryl Streep is a fine actress, and I liked the duality of her motherly and sharp tone. Bernadette Peters, though—her Bean Rap (aah love the bean rap) can’t be defeated. There’s nothing wrong with the melodic, sibilance-y way Meryl Streep performed it, but when Bernadette Peters does it, she BITES ya! “BANG FLASH THE LIGHTNING CRASHED—that’s another story, never mind, anyway.”
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The Witch Hung Too Much Out There (But She Had Fab Hair)They tried foreshadow that the Witch couldn’t use ingredients she touched: I liked it better when she didn’t tell them and then it became an immediate problem. Unknown unknowns are the worst and they took it out. Weaklings.
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Jack Was Kind of YoungFor the same reason Toby in the movie Sweeney Todd is a little different than Toby in the musical, I thought we received a different interpretation of the character. The words mean something different coming from a child than they do a youth.
(Side note: did it throw anyone else off that his hair was straight instead of curly, the way it was in Les Mis?)
Okay, But “Giants in the Sky” Was AwesomeI could have done without the cuts to the beanstalk, but otherwise I loved Jack’s tale. Like, you could just see the adventure in his eyes. I love that song, and the parallel between the tree and the beanstalk, and just… I was totally content with that song. Just like in the musical, we don’t see the giants’ home, and that separation kept us focused and also a little longing—we missed out on some of the magic, and that was kind of the point.
Johnny Depp Was Fine as the Wolf, but the Wolf was Portrayed PoorlyThe esophagus thing was just weird. I know that’s not what a stomach looks like; I’ve held at least two in my hands. As it goes, Johnny Depp was appropriately creepy for the role and he made me smile, and the song was toned down enough without taking away all the original meanings. But still. The whole getting-eaten part was just weird, and they should have left his character more mysterious.
Admittedly, I Liked All the ActorsThere was a lot of talent in this movie. These people are so good at singing and pretending to be other people it’s their job. Like, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Tracey Ullman, Johnny Depp, etcetera—these are cool people! Like, sure, the Broadway people were fantastic, but I didn’t dislike any character/actor pairs as they were.
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I Liked the PrincesMy friends complain that they aren’t really singers, but I still love “Agony” anyway. It is among one of my favorite songs, and watching them rip open their shirts and make fun of anyone in lust ever was the best.
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Yes, Red Is Supposed to Be Like ThatI initially found Red an annoying character, just because she’s so blunt and it’s like she’s acting badly on purpose. It’s actually just her character—she begins somewhere where she’s in control and eventually she is humbled and taught. “I Know Things Now” was well performed, and I liked that.