Into the Woods

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I think we set some sort of personal record for time keeping a Netflix disk gathering dust on the TV stand here. Things just never seemed right for watching. But the Christmas/New Year hiatus and the lack of new content on the TiVo, encouraged us to catch up on physical DVDs.

'Tis a big-screen, star-studded adaptation of the Broadway hit musical, a mashup of Grimm Brothers' yarns (Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella) all set to music and lyrics by the famous Stephen Sondheim. Unifying the various plot threads are a childless baker (James Corden) and his equally childless wife (Emily Blunt), who are sent on a scavenger-hunt mission by a sorta-evil witch (Meryl Streep).

Did I mention star-studded? In addition to the above, there's the pride of Portland Maine, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Tracey Ullman as Jack's mother, Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf, Christine Baranski as Cinderella's evil stepmom, and Chris Pine as the Cinderella-seeking prince. (There's also a Rapunzel-seeking prince, his brother.) Some of these people reveal previously-unknown-to-me singing talent. (If they ever decide to do a Star Trek musical, Chris Pine could certainly continue as Singing Jim Kirk.)

I dimly remember seeing a stage production of Into the Woods put on at the University Near Here many years ago. I remember it as pretty darn dark, but the details blurred. The movie is relatively dark-humor funny at first, then gets just dark and not very funny at all near the end. The IMDB score shows that a lot of folks didn't care for it; I thought it was better than OK.