Monday, August 31, 2015

Into the Woods

Into the Woods” is a Walt Disney production so needless to say, it is child friendly and being a musical, it was an amusing feeling to see the characters sing out their emotions. “Into the Woods” is basically a mash-up of 5 all time favorite fairytales rolled up into 1. You have the baker and his wife (who can be considered to be the main leads), Cinderella, little red riding hood, Rapunzel and Jack and the beanstalk.

While the whole storyline can be found on Wikipedia…In a nutshell, the baker (who is actually the brother of Rapunzel) and his wife want a baby of their own so badly that they agree to a witch’s condition to bring her 4 items to make a certain potion in exchange for a baby: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.

The story starts out with the couple (baker and wife) who open their shop and singing about how much they want a baby. Little red riding hood comes in to the shop and tries to eat more bread than buy bread to bring to her grandmother. When little red riding hood leaves the bakery, the witch suddenly appears (in a very dramatically manner) and offers them the deal (with a little persuasion of course).

So with a mission in mind, the baker and his wife set out to find all the 4 items for the witch, and along the way they encounter the other characters who are intertwined into the storyline. The way the characters are written to meet each other coincidentally and how they all play a part in the big picture is an interesting concept: there is no real focus on the main protagonist s (the supposedly the baker and his wife?), but rather all the characters have their own (almost) equal amount of screen time to propel the story forward. So rather than it being a story, it is more like many sub-stories making up the bigger storyline.

In this adaption, the baker’s wife actually meets Cinderella multiple times when she escapes her prince at the stroke of midnight, and she even plays a role in adding the prince to ‘capture’ Cinderella during one of the escapes. 

The baker's wife and Cinderella on one of her escapes from the prince

The magic beans that Jack has turns out to have been from the baker, and the main reason why Jack climbed up the beanstalk was mainly because he was provoked by little red riding hood. Who would have imagine that from the beanstalk which sprouted from the magic bean came the female giant (at the end of the movie) who came down seeking revenge on Jack for killing her husband.

Meeting with Jack (and the beginning of the beanstalk)

This is another turning point in the story where all the characters (minus the wolf) band together to come up with a way to defeat the giantess. Being a child-friendly movie, the process in which the baker’s wife got pregnant and gave birth to the baby was within mere seconds, akin to having the stomach pumped with air to the right size and bam… a baby nicely swaddled and clean in her arms appears. Despite this, the movie does portray some reality to it by actually having some of the characters die: Jack’s mother dies in the aftermath of the giantess and so does the baker’s wife when she has a momentary lapse in judgment and has an ‘affair’ (ok so it was just kissing) which results her in losing her way back to the group (they thought of a plan to lure the giantess and ultimately destroy her) and falling to her death.

Needless to say the baker was depressed, and there seemed to be a budding relationship between him and Cinderella (talk about fast) towards the end of the movie. Cinderella after realizing that the prince was more of a flamboyant Casanova, decided to abandon the ‘plastic’ prince. What I liked about this movie was that the princes in the movie were portrayed as their exaggerated original (intended) selves: they were flamboyant Casanovas who has a bit of that self-righteous full of themselves himbo characteristic, which made them more realistic. 

The slightly delusional himbo princes
I mean, who falls in love and marries a girl (e.g. Cinderella) after dancing with her a few times, without knowing her name or what she did etc…? If it weren’t for the looks, than he would not have chosen her and being so superficially that would have been a marriage that would not have lasted since there was no real bond to speak of in the fast place. And don’t get me started on the prince (e.g. Rapunzel) who cheated a girl (by pretending to be her adoptive mother), bedded her (think it’s not shown in the movie) and then marries her only after a few times. If Rapunzel was not beautiful, he would not have been captivated by her beauty and tried to climb up the tower by pretending to be her (adoptive) mother (the witch). Gallant, suave and charismatic? Nope, rather more like cunning, conman, persuasive. Haha But what this is a fairytale after all…

All in all, the songs were entertaining and the characters colorful. I didn’t go in expecting anything so the result was actually quite entertaining; definitely a good movie to watch to while away the time.


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