Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursentary: Into the Woods, Act I

I’m late to the Into the Woods party, I know. Everyone saw it two months ago and demonstrated an ignorance of the German version of Cinderella and the fact that it was originally a Broadway musical in their reviews (to be fair, I’d be in the same boat if my friends didn’t love the humanities, but I digress).

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.

via trulycharmed

I Missed the Narrator

Without 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?

via lmnpnch

The Bakers Were Nameless, and That Was Good

I 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.

via Fanpop

The Bean Rap Was Not the Bean Rap

Meryl 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.”

via Pinterest/Google Loop

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.

via Oh My Disney

Jack Was Kind of Young

For 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?)

via Katherine

Okay, But “Giants in the Sky” Was Awesome

I 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.

via lmnpnch

Johnny Depp Was Fine as the Wolf, but the Wolf was Portrayed Poorly

The 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.

via iTunes

Admittedly, I Liked All the Actors

There 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.

via Little Light Design Collective

I Liked the Princes

My 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.

via Oh My Disney

Yes, Red Is Supposed to Be Like That

I 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.


Act I Was Fine

Ultimately, the first hour and fifteen minutes into the film is more or less what it’s supposed to be. After that, it kind of goes downhill. So, while I have more positive things to say, tomorrow I shall discuss what made this movie fall out of my sky.

Did you watch Into the Woods? What did you think of Act I? 


  1. Well, now I want to watch this. I wasn't even aware this was a thing until I read this post, so thank you for enlightening me. xD *googles the musical*

    1. Oh, you haven't? (I'm just a little surprised, my friends and I have been talking about the movie for over a year. It's always a little weird to realize that not everyone is into the same stuff you are. I'm so self-centered.) I hope you enjoy the movie, though!

  2. I've never seen the Broadway version of Into the Woods, but I have had the soundtrack on my ipod for years now. So seeing the Disney version was a great experience for me, as I'd never really understood what went on between the songs. My favourite additions (I mean, I'm sure they were in the musical, but as I've said, I have no knowledge of the spoken bits) were Cinderella's family... Oh, and the Agony duet. I actually thought that Into the Woods was done quite well, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts on Act II!
    Beth x

    1. It was on Netflix a few years ago, which is how I saw it. I know how confusing songs can be without the dialogue that happens in between them! That was how it was like for me and Wicked, lol. Cinderella's family is funny, as is the Agony duet. I suppose it all depends on perspective, but as I said, I'm sharing more negative stuff tomorrow, so you'll have a little more insight then!

  3. I've never seen the Broadway show, but the theater in our town performed the play before the movie came out. And I would say, the movie definitely toned down some of the inappropriateness of the play. They allowed the movie to be a little more kid-friendly. Which is really good.

    I missed the narrator too!

    Oh my goodness! I never realized that about the Bakers! But you are so right. They're the ordinary people. They're us! This realization- I might be up all night.

    They did have a completely different interpretation of Jack. But honestly, I kind of like the movie Jack better than the play Jack. He was childish, because he was a child. And I love his song so much! At first it seemed out of place, but no. I just love that song and it was well performed.

    Agony! Oh, that song makes me laugh! Because it's so outrageous and ludicrous. XD The movie actors did such a good job (I didn't know they weren't real singers, though I could careless since they did well).

    I actually really liked Red (maybe I'm biased; in the play I saw, my friend played her, and did really well). She was kind of this obnoxious little kid at first, but she really grows throughout the whole story. I think her character probably undergoes the most change throughout. And I like her song too about know things.

    1. It used to be on Netflix, which is where I saw it. It definitely goes without saying that the movie toned down a lot of what was in the play, but in my opinion that was really a loss! GIVE ME EVIL AND PAIN AND SUFFERING. It would have made the movie wayyy better.

      The Bakers was just a random thought that came to me, but it made sense to me. XD Other people thought that it meant the Bakers weren't important enough to be named, but in my opinion, the Bakers were too important to have names, if that makes sense.

      I think the movie Jack was very talented, but I think characters like Toby and Jack who are older and yet a little simple are really interesting to explore... But, either way, I was completely content with Jack in the movie, it just was different.

      Agony is hilarious, yes. I thought it was a little overdone, but I didn't mind. They made it worth it.

      And Red has never been my favorite character, although loyalty to your friends should always trump your movie preferences, heh. She does grow up, although I wish they had explored her loss of innocence a little more... Just in general.

  4. I am horribly uniformed when it comes to this movie/show. I haven't seen the Broadway version and frankly, based off the movie, I don't plan on seeing it. I appreciated some of the elements of the movie (like the Agony song), but I wouldn't watch it again and I didn't find it particularly amazing.

    Interesting review though!

    1. *winces* Yeah, I'm glad I saw the Broadway version first just because the movie cut out a lot of the stuff that gave the musical a point. I'm sorry you didn't like it, but thanks for reading. :)

  5. I knew it was a musical but never watched it, but the movie just failed to compel in some way. I didn't like the narrator though -- I mean, you literally have expositional songs and dialogue everywhere, do you really need a narrator?

    Meryl Streep was like the saving grace of this movie. Much awesome. But I know what you mean, the reader needs to know that the characters are doing stuff wrong for better tension. The agony song was hilarious, even though I'm imagining Reboot!Kirk ripping open his shirt on the Enterprise and Spock raising an eyebrow.

    1. *nods* The movie just lacked, I think. I doubt it did as well as they thought it should. I think the narrator exists because it's supposed to sound like a fairy tale. When the Baker is narrating, you're right in that he probably could have been cut out (although he made the first song make way more sense) but in the musical version, the Narrator actually interacts with the cast as they act out the stories, and so in that way I think he played a more important role. And he got eaten.

      It's interesting that you say that, because I would disagree with you there. Because she was good, it's just that she wasn't... the same kind of good, you know? But I do like the idea of a short in which Captain Kirk decides to hold an Into the Woods show on the Enterprise... AND HE COULD TRY TO CONVINCE SPOCK TO BE THE WITCH AND HE WOULD BE LIKE... no.

  6. This is a great review! I mean, I think it is...because I haven't seen it yet either. I was hearing kind of mixed-mostly-ehhh reviews, though...but I have to admit, I love the music.

    Speaking of love, I adore your writing style and voice! Following your blog as soon as I publish this comment and, in keeping with the spirit of musicals, in the words of Fagin from Oliver, I'll "be back soon!"

    1. Oh no! It's not letting me comment. I'll try again later!

    2. Thanks, Anne! It is a mostly-ehhh movie, but the music is good. I'd say it's worth just listening to the soundtrack, because they did get a lot of talent.

      Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you're interested in following! My follow widget sometimes doesn't work, but I'd try following on your Blogger dashboard, and see if that helps!

  7. I haven't even joined the Into The Woods Party yet, so to be honest, much of this post doesn't make sense to me :) My friend told me it had a lot of signing though, so she didn't really like it.

    1. Ah, well, perhaps you'll join later? Anyway, yes, it is a musical because it was written as a musical. And I'm a musical person, although I'm sorry your friend wasn't. :/


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