Watching Into the Woods is like staring at a pair of dark eyes–the ones that belong from a deep person. Round, beautiful, a window to the soul. It is as if you’re looking into a tunnel and wondering if there is light at the end of the journey. Or maybe what lies beneath it is still unfathomable.
A mix of Disney and Grimm’s fairy tale stories, Into the Woods brought me to the uncanny metaphysical world. It tells a story of a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who was cursed in their family tree to never have a baby. Now in order to break the spell, they need to offer four different items to the witch (Meryl Streep). However, these items can only be found in the woods where a whirlwind of fantasy and magic is yet to come.
Directed by Rob Marshall who has gone through musicals like Chicago and Nine, this adaptation of the original musical by Stephen Sondheim was reinvented in a way that it focused on the reality within the idealism or it has shown the unpredictable side of the happily ever after we’ve all been wishing for.
I like the production design and the music. Although, it could’ve been more dramatic by putting more stand alone dialogues apart from music all throughout the film. Because sometimes, if there is more music than substance the film only becomes noise to us, it doesn’t make your brain work things out, it makes the story rather vague than it should’ve been better.
Plus, the long chorus and duets made the pacing slow. However, they made me realize that: Spending your time in the woods is actually not boring. The film gave a quality to something unimportant to us because here is where these famous people we know in fairy tales met and a lot actually (could happen) happened in there. The blue hue they used also gave an ambiance to the film as the scenes mostly happened in the woods. It is not that dark visually but it gives you an eerie feeling inside.
Moreover, as I analyze the film, I found out that it is from Category D which presents and attacks ideologies in a clever way, through a magical world. The woods represents the world we live in. There were witches, giants, charming princes who were not raised to be sincere, sheltered women like Rapunzel, shorter people who are wiser than they look, like Jack in Jack n’ the beanstalk, and the Little Red Riding Hood; as well as Cinderella and her foster family who were brought to life.
Realistically, there are giants in the society to whom we look up to but actually have all the power to step on us like a piece of trash. Admit it or not, people in relationships stray because their morals just don’t fit in the standards of our society like how Cinderella’s prince betrayed her by kissing the baker’s wife. Some parents are overprotective because they are scared to let their child open up in a world that is full of injustice like how the witch kept Rapunzel in the tower.
Therefore, I commend Stephen Sondheim for writing these songs that cut deep in our veins as imperfect human beings:
“Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood
Others may deceive you
You decide what’s good
You decide alone
But no one is alone”
No one is alone. You just have to see through people. Find the good in them and do not stay with the bad ones.
“Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
Children may not obey
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.
Careful before you say,
“Listen to me.”
Children will listen.”
Most of the messages in his songs carry the message of TRUST in the real world. It’s a good metaphor to use fairy tales in decoding the truth in our society. It won’t be offensive, it’s rather safe and would serve as a caveat for everyone just before you find yourselves lost in the woods.
“Though it’s fearful,
Though it’s deep, though it’s dark
And though you may lose the path,
Though you may encounter wolves,
You can’t just act,
You have to listen.
you can’t just act,
You have to think.”