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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cine Beaverhausen: Buddy Beaverhausen Ventures Into the Woods

Because dark tellings of fairy tales have become so "un-Disneyfied" and chic, returned to their dark, Hans Christian Anderson roots on tv and film lately, even today's Disney studio has come over to the "dark side" with films like Maleficent! And now comes Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, released Christmas day and nominated for an Oscar this year. The Broadway songs are rendered superbly.

Meryl Streep enters by blowing a door down! She's a wicked witch who does a kind of a modified rap number. And she's Oscar nominated... yet again!

There's a cleverness to the lyrics and dialogue, unquestionably, in this intertwining of fairy tales. A touch of camp runs throughout, especially with performances by Streep, Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman and Johnny Depp as a scary Big Bad Wolf, singing beautifully. (He did the screen version of Sondheims's Sweeny Todd, after all).

Directed by Rob Marshall, who directed the Broadway-based film versions of Nine (loved it) and Chicago (hated it), there is a mid-point where the story line's conceits grow a tad wearisome even if the songs and performances carry things along. Act 2 of the play is seriously compromised, however, in this film version; very Disney-ized... but in the bad way. And by the third act, we feel the film running out of petrol.

Into the Woods won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical this year as well as an AFI Movie of the Year Award. Definitely worthwhile, and I love that Hollywood is again green-lighting screen adaptions of stage musicals. Check this out and let me know your point of view.


  1. Into The Woods is brilliantly penned by Stephen Sondheim and to have it receive this high level cast and production is just amazing to me....I'll take it !

  2. I was enraptured from beginning to end! I predict this film will be more appreciated as a classic in years ahead, appearing perennially on television. (I do agree with you about Chicago, however.)