Walt Disney Home Entertainment takes us on a dark and dazzling journey “Into the Woods” with this mashup of the many fairy tales they’ve so colorfully brought to the screen in animation form before. If you can imagine “Once Upon a Time” loaded with never-ending musical numbers you have a good idea what to expect from this impressive film. Besides a few spots where you know you’re on a movie set, audiences will no doubt get lost in the land of make-believe Director Rob Marshall transports you to.
In “Into the Woods,” a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are childless as the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep). Three days before the rise of a blue moon, they venture into the forest to find the ingredients that will reverse the spell and restore the witch's beauty: a milk-white cow, hair as yellow as corn, a blood-red cape, and a slipper of gold. During their journey, they meet Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), each one on a quest to fulfill a wish.
Disney gives us a few bonus features for the “Into the Woods” Blu-ray edition. Meryl Streep performs a never-before-seen Steven Sondheim original song entitled “She’ll Be Back.” It was composed for the movie and introduced by Director Rob Marshall. The featurette “The Cast As Good As Gold” shows the cast digging deeper into the experience of making the film. “Deeper into the Woods” is made up of four “Making of” featurettes including “The Magic of the Woods.” Commentary by the filmmakers is included as well. Viewers can also skip to their favorite songs throughout the movie. There’s even more to be found.
The movie is rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material. There are some surprisingly adult-type situations towards the end of the movie when the mood of the film switches gears. The nods to the original Grimm’s fairy tales might be a bit too disturbing for younger viewers as well.
“Into the Woods” will be a big hit with audiences into the theater and musicals. It takes an interesting turn in its third act which, if you’ve never seen the production before, will come as a shock to those who want to live happily ever after. I do have to say some of the sets look and feel stagey, which took me out of the viewing experience at times. The singing and performances by the entire cast were spot-on. Unfortunately, I really don’t enjoy this sort of thing and can’t imagine I’ll ever revisit the Woods.
“Into the Woods” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.