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Running Time:
2 hours, 5 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A happy mash-up of symbol-laden, once-upon-a-time tales about lust, envy, greed, and misguided pursuits of happiness.

Additional Info:
Anna Kendrick ... Cinderella
Daniel Huttlestone ... Jack
James Corden ... Baker
Emily Blunt ... Baker's Wife
Christine Baranski ... Stepmother
Tammy Blanchard ... Florinda
Lucy Punch ... Lucinda
Tracey Ullman ... Jack's Mother
Meryl Streep ... Witch

Into The Woods
This is a mash-up of several different Grimm fairy tales, which include "Rapunzel", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Cinderella", and "Little Red Riding Hood", all interweaving with a central plot about the Baker and the Baker's Wife (James Cordon and Emily Blunt), a couple who seek to end their curse of being childless, which was placed upon them by the Witch (Meryl Streep). The Witch offers them a chance to bear a child if they can collect several items; these items in turn are all related to the other fairy tale characters.

Almost all of the actors are excellent in their roles, and surprisingly, their singing is pretty good. Meryl Streep carries the movie, and her singing doesn't feel cheesy or forced. Also, her makeup and prosthetics are top notch, and really proves why ugly witches are still the best in movies. James Cordon and Emily Blunt are quite good in their roles, and have a fair share of funny moments. Anna Kendrick and Mackenzie Mauzie are adequate as Cinderella and Rapunzel, but ultimately their characters feel a little underdeveloped.

Chris Pine is surprisingly excellent as Cinderella's Prince, and his duet "Agony" with Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel's Prince is easily a one of the highlights of the film. Surprisingly, Johnny Depp is decent as the Wolf, and his scenes with Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) manage to keep their dark and humorous themes intact. Finally, Daniel Huttlestone does an excellent job as Jack.

The final third of Into the Woods feels pretty rushed, and like the stage musical, it feels like a section that was added just to turn what is supposed to be a happy ending, into a bittersweet one. Also, while most of the sets and costumes, including the Wolf are excellent, some exterior special effects like the beanstalk, and the Princes' castle didn't look so good, which is disappointing since the rest of the effects and sets are of such a high quality.

Overall, Into the Woods is an adaptation from a Broadway musical that really works. The songs are catchy, the choreography is well done, and the the performances are consistently funny. With the exception of a lackluster final act, this is probably the best adaptation of a Stephen Sondheim  musical that we could possibly get, and I commend director Rob Marshall ("Chicago") and his cohorts for their fine work.
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