In need of a movie to watch over the weekend, I picked up Into The Woods, Disney's latest live-action flick to hit DVD. I didn't really know much about the movie. Just that it was a mash-up of fairy tale plots. Maybe with a bit of a fractured twist or two? I've always had a weakness for a good fairy tale story. And the stellar all-star cast was also a pretty big lure. In short, I was intrigued. And hey...it's Disney. So my expectations were way, way up there.
Perhaps too much so.
In the back of my mind, I was aware that this movie was a musical. After all, it's Disney...and almost everything Disney puts out is musical to some degree (except for maybe The Watcher in the Woods, the company's early 80s attempt at making a scary movie...but that's another story). I just didn't realize how musical it would be. Practically every sound uttered by the characters was done so in song. And, to be honest, I found that to be a more than little annoying. Music in movies can be great. In fact, it often adds to the story. But in the case of Into the Woods, it was just distracting. Annoying, even. Disney ought to reserve the musical numbers for their animated films. Just look at what "Let it Go" did for the Frozen franchise.
My personal verdict: Into the Woods is not Disney's best effort. The cast was star-studded, the costumes and sets were gorgeous, but the story itself was only passably interesting and seemed nothing more than a contest by the writers to see how many fairy tale bits and pieces could be squeezed into the film's allotted two hours. I'm guessing that this is one of those Disney films that will fade into oblivion once the initial newness of it has passed. Not unlike The Gnome-Mobile (What? Never heard of that one? I rest my case.) --AJB