Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD March 24th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 10/10
A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Multiple fairy tale worlds collide in ‘Into The Woods’ which brilliantly merges together such classic stories as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel into a fantasy filled musical journey. Join the Baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt) who upon being informed of a curse placed upon their family line from the evil witch next door (Streep) head into the dangerous magical woods in search of four items that when all collected will supposedly remove the curse and allow the couple to finally conceive a child. As they head off into the woods on their dangerous quest they come across many unique individuals as these multiple fantasy worlds come together, and their search for the four items will only be the beginning of their adventure.
Director Rob Marshall (2002’s big screen adaption of ‘Chicago’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’)does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Into The Woods’ beautifully guiding this musical journey based on the live musical written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, with the film’s screenplay adapted by none other than co-writer James Lapine himself. The film is also greatly boosted by the wonderful performances and singing by such talented individuals as Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and many more, all of whom deliver impressively in each of their respective roles.
‘Into The Woods’ is a wonderfully constructed musical fantasy adventure that should keep the entire family entertained. While it should cause no issues for the older children, some of the content might be a touch dark for some of the younger children, although it’s always indirectly implied or else stated, never shown or flaunted in any sort of upsetting manner. As a whole, anyone who enjoys fairy tales or Disney animated films in general should thoroughly enjoy this one and some of the older kids may even enjoy it far more with its slightly more mature tone. ‘Into The Woods’ is a great time of a film and one that I would highly recommend, even folks (like me) who aren’t generally crazy about musicals are very likely to enjoy this fun time of a film.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Into the Woods’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks absolutely magnificent, the colors and extravagant detail of the surroundings look truly fantastic; everything is sharp, detailed and looks as good as it gets, not a single occurrence of video noise or any other faults big or small could be found on my end and even the fast moving and dark sequences are more than discernible, looking impressive at every point. This is one of the best high definition video presentations I’ve seen so far this year, fans of the film and newcomers alike should be absolutely thrilled with it.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is quite impressive, delivering remarkable audio that is not only clear, clean and discrete, but that takes every opportunity possible to utilize all seven available channels, surrounding the viewer with birds and numerous other fantasy elements, along with the wonderful songs immersing the viewer completely. As with the video presentation, this 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack gets top marks and should thoroughly please the masses.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Into the Woods’ includes a number of fun and entertaining bonus goodies. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary by Director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca; along with a ‘Never-Before-Seen Sondheim Original Song “She’ll Be Back” performed by Meryl Streep’ which was originally composed for the film and also features an introduction to the Deleted Song by Director Rob Marshall. The Blu-Ray release also includes a ‘Music & Lyrics’ option which enables you to jump to any song of your choosing from the film with Sing-Along mode (so to speak) enabled, in addition to a couple of Behind The Scenes Featurette’s: ‘There’s Something About The Woods’ (approximately 13 minutes) and ‘The Cast As Good As Gold’ (app. 10 minutes) that feature Behind The Scenes footage and cast and crew interviews. Last (but not least) we are also treated to a four part look at the making of the film titled ‘Deeper Into the Woods’ which explores everything from the Stage to Screen adaption to the design and costumes that are so important.