Into the Woods - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Into the Woods Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
This is an adult version of fairy tales with music and comedy. I really liked it, but I saw it a long time ago, and would like to see it again.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2009
"Stay a child while you can be a child"
A Baker and his Wife have been cursed with a childless marriage by the spiteful Witch next door, who promises only to lift the curse if they journey into the woods to collect four items for her: Jack's white cow, Little Red Riding Hood's cape, Rapunzel's yellow hair and Cinderella's golden slipper... This is an excellent filmed performance of Stephen Sondheim's brilliant musical fairy tale. Because events take a very dark turn in the Second Act, I wouldn't recommend this for small children, unless you're one of those parents who enjoys fielding questions about death, mutilation, adultery and human sacrifice; it's better suited to adults who refuse to grow up. Some of the songs are gorgeous, especially Stay with Me, sung by Bernadette Peters' Witch to her adopted daughter Rapunzel, and No One Is Alone, sung by Cinderella and the Baker to a recently bereaved Little Red Riding Hood and Jack. The most amusing number, and the one that most readily gets stuck in my head, is Agony, in which two Princes Charming argue over whose insurmountable quest for love is the most difficult to bear. I loved every minute of this!
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2008
Maybe not the best music(some of it is very good) but the story is quite interesting.
February 22, 2015
Bernadette Peters was amazing as the Wicked Witch. This was a great production with some fantastic musical numbers.
½ June 21, 2014
Well that was really overall excessively pleasant, the songs were alternatively funny or beautiful, there were nice messages amongst all the death and such, I found particular enjoyment in the princes and their Agony songs, the acting was very good, I do always like when a witch isn't completely horrible.... I did completely lose it and start crying hysterically but it's not at any point that anyone would've expected or intended, and not anything that would've bothered me a year ago. So. Meh. Minus the half star for the selling of the cow and the wearing of the wolf skin and the cow having to die at all, even if it was resurrected, though Jack's house having been stepped on and demolished I'm pretty sure both cow and chicken had off screen unceremonial deaths.
January 22, 2013
Perhaps the best play I've ever seen. Fantastic recording of a play. It may not be live, but this is the next best thing!!!
Cal
November 15, 2012
Undoubtedly one of the best musicals I've ever seen. Every song is good--most which directly move the plot or characters forward. It also helps that the characters themselves are enjoyable (Especially Bernadette Peters. She made this particular cast INCREDIBLE).

Anyway, the first act is entirely kid friendly and makes for a good Jr. version of the film. The 2nd act, however, expounds on the whole idea of "happily ever after" with some very dark and grim adult themes... amazingly enough, you can watch the first act by itself and it feels cohesive. But when the second act is added on to that, it doesn't feel tacked on or out of place... it actually expands on the themes and morals without complications!

Into the Woods goes from a happy and cheerful "ever after" to a sobering depiction of reality and suffering. And it does it cohesively.

Incredible play, and this cast did an incredible job. Thumbs up all around.
½ March 19, 2012
"Into the Woods" is not my favorite musical. The music is interesting but the constant change of keys and time signatures makes the entire show feel disjointed. I enjoy Sondheim as much as the next guy but for me, this can't begin to compare with Sweeney Todd and West Side Story. This Original Broadway Cast is spot on, featuring Joanna Gleason as the Baker's Wife and the legendary Bernadette Peters as The Witch. I enjoyed the overall story as the writers reveal what happens after "happily ever after," though it's surprising that they don't hesitate to kill off a bunch of characters. Probably the biggest surprise to me is the amount of the humor in this script, not hesitating to step out of the story to deliver a joke directly to the audience. I typically avoid recordings of stage shows but this version works if you are interested in experiencing the musical. "Into the Woods" is an okay musical... but I like to walk away from a show being able to sing at least one song and this one gives me a headache as I try to weave together any of its melodies.
January 10, 2011
"Into the Woods" 10 Scale Rating: 6.0 (Above Average) ...

Had I seen the play in person I think I would have enjoyed it more. Watching a play on DVD seems to take away from the experience. Either way, I was entertained at times.

"Into the Woods" merges several fairy tales into two stories with an intermission in the middle. It draws classics like "Little Red Riding Hood", "Rapunzel", "Cinderella", and "Jack and the Beanstalk". It is mostly a comedy with a lot of tongue and cheek humor and one liners.

Once it started and I realized it was a play on DVD, I actually thought I'd have a hard time getting through it. It wasn't as difficult as I thought though. While I'd rather have seen the play in person, the DVD version was entertaining enough to keep my interest.
February 7, 2012
"Into the Woods" 10 Scale Rating: 6.0 (Above Average) ...

Had I seen the play in person I think I would have enjoyed it more. Watching a play on DVD seems to take away from the experience. Either way, I was entertained at times.

"Into the Woods" merges several fairy tales into two stories with an intermission in the middle. It draws classics like "Little Red Riding Hood", "Rapunzel", "Cinderella", and "Jack and the Beanstalk". It is mostly a comedy with a lot of tongue and cheek humor and one liners.

Once it started and I realized it was a play on DVD, I actually thought I'd have a hard time getting through it. It wasn't as difficult as I thought though. While I'd rather have seen the play in person, the DVD version was entertaining enough to keep my interest.
September 4, 2011
Probably the best transition of a musical to the big screen that I have ever seen. Wonderfully acted, greatly staged, hilarious, and dark, "Into the Woods" is a delightfully moralistic film that adults and older teens will really love and appreciate!
August 13, 2011
Another one of my favorite musicals of all time with music by the legendary Stephen Sondheim. The original Broadway cast is amazing!
June 30, 2011
A beautiful blend of deep, adult themes amidst a collage of fairytales with their own. Not my favorite of Sondheim, but he crafts something special each time. With this filmed for television version, the editing and direction are exactly what's needed for a non-audience member.
March 5, 2011
Before seeing Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (the film version), I saw this play back in the 90s. It is incredibly funny and clever, and gets pretty dramatic in the second act. It remains one of my favorite stage productions I've ever seen. Bernadette Peters is wonderful in it. If you've seen Sweeney Todd you'll probably recognize the familiar music and dark humor.
January 21, 2011
So technically this is a play, but since I've only ever seen the recorded version, I think it should count. Bernadette Peters is it in this, hard for me to ever consider a different cast. Made me completely rethink the fairytale, in a good way.
January 9, 2011
I adore musicals, but this one did nothing for me. In fact, I couldn't sit through more than a few minutes of it. The little bit that I did watch was so painfully boring I couldn't fathom sitting through another two hours of it.
½ November 3, 2010
Nice Is Different Than Good

This was one of my introductions to Sondheim proper, back when I was in junior high. Oh, I knew [i]West Side Story[/i]. Who doesn't? But that isn't really Sondheim, though it does exhibit some of his clever wordplay. It's a gateway drug, though. You start with "Officer Krupke," with its clever lyrics, and you go on to [i]Into the Woods[/i], because hey, it's about fairy tales. What's wrong with fairy tales? And then you're into [i]Sunday in the Park With George[/i] and [i]A Little Night Music[/i], and before you know it, you're ranting at total strangers about how they're never going to make a movie of [i]Assassins[/i], and why didn't they put the ballad in at the end of the Tim Burton [i]Sweeney Todd[/i], if they had to take it out of everywhere else? It's happened to better people than I. To be fair, though, I'm not sure how much any of us actually regret it.

Once Upon a Time, there lived a childless Baker (Chip Zien) and his Wife (Joanna Gleason). They lived in a fairy tale kingdom. A young woman, Cinderella (Kim Crosby), wishes more than anything else to be allowed to go to the festival. The king's festival. Jack (Ben Wright) must sell his cow so he and his mother (Barbara Bryne) can eat. A little girl in a red cloak (Danielle Ferland) must go through the woods to her grandmother's house. And the Witch Next Door (Bernadette Peters) offers the Baker and his Wife the opportunity to get what they wish for most--a child. They must acquire for her the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. If they can bring her these before the clock strikes midnight in three days' time, she will undo the curse of barrenness she put on their family after his father stole greens from her garden. She stole his sister, but she wasn't satisfied, you see, because he'd stolen her magic beans. And they all go into the woods to get their wish.

I have read that this came about because Sondheim wanted to write a musical of a fairy tale and asked someone to help him come up with a new one. The person said there were already plenty, and why didn't he do something about them? And so yes, there is Jack and Red, Cinderella and Rapunzel (Pamela Winslow). The princes (Robert Westenberg as Cinderella's; Chuck Wagner as Rapunzel's) don't need names, because the princes never have names in these stories. There is the Witch and the Wolf (Westenberg again, but wearing a mask and a creepy suit) and the Giant. There is the Mysterious Man (Tom Aldredge) who knows everything--and thus the same man plays the narrator--and turns out to be deeply involved in the whole thing. It's almost as though Sondheim dipped into the stream of collective consciousness and pulled out half the stories we tell to children. Sleeping Beauty (Maureen Davis) and Snow White (Cindy Robinson) are thrown in at the last minute to boot.

But this is Sondheim still. The Witch was cursed herself for losing the magic beans, and she is lifting the curse on the Baker and his Wife in exchange for their breaking the curse on her, though she doesn't know it. And it is the Baker who saves Red and her grandmother (Merle Louise) from the Wolf. ("What kind of hunter are you?" "I'm a baker!") However, there is no character here with a name who didn't have a name in the original source material. And this [i]is[/i] Sondheim; there are no fairy godmothers here. Cinderella goes to the grave of her mother, and it is her friends the birds who help her. (Having a fairy godmother would make the second act too easy.) Those selfsame birds also pick out the stepsisters' eyes. Rapunzel's Prince is blinded; she gives birth to twins. As Antonin Scalia put it in about the only cool thing I've ever known him to say (the Supreme Court is ruling on a California law making it a crime to sell certain video games to minors), "Some of the Grimm's fairy tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth."

Moses will tell you about the time he saw a live production about this. He says people left during intermission. He thinks they should have said there was a second act. Happily ever after comes in the middle in this story. I guess that's how people didn't know, but didn't they notice an absence of curtain call? I think the theme here is that wishes must be paid for, and you'd better be sure you actually want what you've wished for, because you just might get it. When that happens, it's really too late to run around blaming everyone else. There are too many steps. It's too many people's fault--including your own. And so happily-ever-after isn't. There's always another wish, and there are always the consequences of the last wish you made. Having a child is a beauty and a wonder, but there's a lot of responsibility there, after all. And the prince who chased all over the woods with your shoe may not be worthy of catching you.
July 13, 2010
Another great film of a musical production. Bernadette Peters proves to be a funny comedy actress. Very good. Joanna Gleason amazing too (though never really did anything after this that was remerable. Was in original "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" musical). Good and funny film. Theater fans, something to watch!!!
June 30, 2010
I love this musical, and really hope that if they do make this into a film, they capture the magic that the cast had. Love the music
June 28, 2010
While not the greatest Sondheim musical it is still a great Sondheim musical. Great singing, minimalistic sets, and great characters (thanks to writer and actors alike) make this a strong musical. The biggest negative to it is the length, but it uses the whole time for story telling, character development and song. Better yet, they split the play into two sections with an intermission. Most characters get what's coming to them.
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