Into the Woods (2014) – Review

Read Time:4 Minute, 27 Second

Careful the wish you make, wishes are children…” The Witch sang.

Oscar-caliber director, Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine, Memoirs of Geisha) did Avengers on some lovely Brother Grimm’s fairy tales in Disney’s adaptation of Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods. Along with the original writer (Lapine) and composer (Sondheim), the director paved the way into the woods in the corner of Hollywood and Broadway.

The brilliant question is: what if all fairy tales were in the same universe and dwelling at the same time? The brilliant answer is: Into the Woods. The titular woods were a perfect rendezvous for Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) to collide together; bound by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt) attempting to undo the spell of the Witch (Meryl Streep). Of course, entanglements between them resulted in twist and consequences of their quests and wishes.

Simply saying, the film was off two completely different parts. The first half was a though-provoking revelation of how each tales were in the same universe. This part was happier and, most of all, whimsical in portraying the ‘happily ever after’ goal to make senses in conjunction with other story. Meanwhile, the second half revealed what’s beyond ‘happily ever after.’ The tone was darker and, I must say, sorrowful—containing ample of twist and conflicts. The first half was a little too complicated and, frankly, quite puzzling; yet, the second half was more a unity—proving the assembly was worth it in a very dark, grim Grimms’ tale.

I’ve never seen the original musical of it, yet, Into the Woods is, I think, a respectable adaptation for one favor. It’s not merely transferred the Broadway musical into big screen, but it’s translating it—the form (with additional angles), but most feasibly, the meaning—creating a vision of wonderful production design and costume design. The set was immaculate and I loved how it’s well-designed and well-exploited to give the impression that ‘everything can happen in the woods.’

Well, the most fun parts of Into the Woods was the musical part, yet, it sometimes become its descend as well. The songs were all ear-candies, despite of their complicated lyrics, the songs were sing-able. I loved some of it like: ‘Agony’ by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, or the quintessence ‘No One Is Alone’. The problem is, sometimes the singing time’s boring—giving more nodding off moments than excitements. The reason was simple: the choreography was too simple for musical—making impression that it was just dialogues with tones.

However boring it is, the idea was something brilliant for me and it didn’t fail in impressing me. Sondheim and Lapine’s blessing for their advancing-the-era tale was something worth an attempt; and Marshall took the chance well.

VERDICT: The great idea of assembling several Brother Grimms’ tales into one tale was, of course, full of twist—in a positive way. Into the Woods paved the way into the woods in the corner of Hollywood and Broadway in a good way.

Into the Woods (2014)

Adventure, Musical, Fantasy Directed by: Rob Marshall Written by: James Lapine based on musical play by James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim Starred by: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp Running Times: 125 mins Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material

IMDb | Official Site

Sutradara kaliber Oscar, Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine, Memoirs of Geisha) memberlakukan konsep Avengers pada dongeng-dongeng Grimm Bersaudara dalam adaptasi musikal Into the Woods. Bersama penulis asli (Lapine) dan komposer (Sondheim), sang sutradara menjembatani adaptasi ini dalam koridor Hollywood dan Broadway.

Pertanyaan klasiknya: bagaimana kalau berbagai kisah dongeng dalam satu universe secara bersamaan? Jawabannya: Into the Woods. Hutan—the woods—adalah titik rendezvous yang sempurna bagi Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), dan Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy). Semuanya ‘dipersatukan’ oleh kisah tukang roti dan istrinya (James Corden & Emily Blunt) yang berusaha melepaskan diri dari kutukan Penyihir (Meryl Streep). Yang jelas, pertemuan mereka semua menghasilkan twist dan konsekuensi yang tak selamanya indah.

Gampangnya, film ini terbagi dalam dua babak. Yang pertama bercerita tentang pengungkapan bahwa semua kisah itu ada dalam satu frame. Bagian ini lebih bahagia, namun juga lebih whimsical dalam mengkaitkan konsep ‘happily ever after‘ satu kisah ke kisah lain. Sementara, babak keduanya mengungkapkan kejadian pasca ‘happily ever after‘; atmosfernya lebih gelap dan memilukan. Babak pertama sedikit agak rumit namun babak keduanya lebih menyatu dan bermakna—membuktikan bahwa tim Avengers dongeng ini cocok membuat dongeng yang gelap.

Into the Woods tak hanya mentransfer elemen musikal Broadway ke layar lebar, tapi menerjemahkannya—dalam wujud production design serta kostum dan makna—dalam wujud semangat musikalnya. Namun bagian paling menyenangkan adalah musikalnya. Lagu-lagunya bagaikan ear candy, meskipun liriknya kadang sulit diikuti namun tetap sedap dinyanyikan. Walau kadang bagian ‘menyanyi’-nya membosankan—karena seolah hanya mentransfer dialog menjadi lagu yang repetitif—namun tak mengurangi semangat musikalnya.

Semembosankan apapun film ini, idenya yang sangat brilian tetap memberi kesa yang luar biasa. Restu Sondheim dan Lapine atas karya mereka yang sudah ‘overlap‘ zamannya saja sudah luar biasa, ditambah arahan Marshall yang prima, Into the Woods lebih dari sekedar menghibur.

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