When it comes to navigating how to be both a family-friendly holiday crowdpleaser and a faithful adaptation of a tricky but profound musical, Into the Woods is mostly golden.
A disclaimer: Despite a dizzying and delightful first half, the film ultimately devolves into a very grim fairy tale.
With the exception of Meryl Streep (as the Witch) and James Corden (as the Baker), the cast is bland, and the bombastic orchestrations tend to steamroll the nuances of Sondheim's score.
If you go down to the woods today... you'll find A-listers dressed like 'Game of Thrones' extras belting out showtunes.
The movie is a watchable, tuneful contraption.
Marshall's film captures enough of the emotions that course through this sneaky fairy tale about childish things like love, sex, grief, insecurity, abandonment, and forbearance.
A jolly mash-up of symbol-laden, signature once-upon-a-time tales about lust, envy, greed, and misguided pursuits of happiness.
"Into the Woods," the splendid Disney screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, infuses new vitality into the tired marketing concept of entertainment for "children of all ages."
"Into the Woods" could have taken a well-worn path toward stagey sentiments, but those who worried that Hollywood might drain the enchantment from the Enchanted Forest can live happily after.