I know I’m a touch behind, but I watched the film version of Into The Woods. Being a huge fan of the recording of the original Broadway version, I was curious to see how this version fared. Especially as I had heard several mixed reviews (including some from people who didn’t know it was a musical!).
From the start I was impressed and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought it would. The cast did very well (and even James Corden didn’t annoy me). I was even impressed at the inclusion of the 2nd act as I was half expecting it to either be omitted or truncated. Yes some things were changed but the film wasn’t particularly spoiled by the changes.
Of course I couldn’t help but compare it to the 1991 Broadway recording. I personally felt that the 1991 version was the superior one. The film suffered a definite lack of humour that was in the original. Meryl Streep’s witch, while good was a bland, insipid affair compared to Bernadette Peters’ creation – full of malicious intent and humour, a roll she was seemingly born to play. Again, Emily Blunt was good as the Baker’s Wife, but incomparable to Joanna Gleason. Johnny Depp’s interpretation of the Wolf came across as a sleazy pervert compared to Robert Westenberg’s swarthiness.
There were some songs omitted and the one I missed the most was the princes’ Agony (reprisal) which contains my favourite line in the whole musical.
On the whole, I wasn’t left with a bad impression. It was a good film, but if you haven’t seen the 1991 recording and were a fan of the film, I really urge you to check it out.
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