Sondheim’s magic reverberates a magnetic charm and energy in this splendid adaptation of the fairytale musical. Children will leave skipping and smiling, parents will want to sing along and everyone will relish the playful innocence and amusing show tunes, performed by a charismatic Hollywood cast who actually can sing. The spectre of Russell Crowe’s Javert feels but a distant, ghoulish nightmare, as Emily Blunt, James Corden, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine et al treat us to colourful, tuneful and warm hearted performances which bring to life some gorgeous costume and set design, amassing to dense woods you would happily get lost in.
Into the Woods manages to capture the awe and energy of a stage musical, it feels live and dynamic and wondrous. Whilst the second half is odd and clearly does not live up the first, the charismatic performances ensure it remains cohesive and enjoyable. Emily Blunt is a note-perfect revelation as the Baker’s wife, James Corden effervescent and charming. Chris Pine’s Prince Charming is hilariously over the top and a great piece of casting whilst Streep has scenery to devour.
The cast click seamlessly with each other and the melodies, producing spirited fantasy. This is fine family cinema, a perfect blend of spooky and good, merry fun.
Review by David Rank
Into the Woods is out now in the UK and US. Running time 125 mins. Certificate PG (UK).