Into the Woods

I’ve been wanting to see “Into the Woods” so badly ever since it came out in theatres in December. Time and time again, each time I wanted to go to the movies to see it, something would come up and the plans would yet again be postponed. At the close of a long, busy week of classes, I jumped in bed, dressed head to toe in comfort, and seized the opportunity to finally rent the movie and see what I had been missing out on.

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I can’t totally understand how I feel about it… I mean, it was a good movie – the cast (LOVE Meryl Streep), the music, and the visuals were all great, but for some reason at the very end, I felt like something was lacking… Can’t put my finger on it…

I did, however, love the different approach Disney took to its traditional versions of the Grimms brothers’ fairytales. Much like the show “Once Upon a Time,” each of the characters with their own stories come together to form a new story in which their individual plotlines intertwine and affect one another’s outcomes. I like how the director, Rob Marshall, described the essence of the movie: “All of the movies go into the woods to get their wishes. It’s about how far they push to get what they want.” Each of the characters, including the villain, gets what they wished for — Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk) gets the giant’s harp, Cinderella gets the prince, Rapunzel gets her prince and her freedom from the tower, Little Red Riding Hood experiences an exciting journey on her way to see her grandmother, the baker and his wife get the child they always wanted to have, and even the witch gets her lost youthful beauty. However, at Cinderella’s wedding to the prince, when any other traditional Disney movie would end, the perfect “happy endings” take a turn for the worse. An angry giant destroys the kingdom, Cinderella’s prince cheats on her and they break up, Rapunzel totally loses her relationship with her mother in exchange for the prince, Little Red Riding Hood’s mother and grandmother die in the giant’s attack, the baker’s wife falls off a cliff to her death, the witch wastes away to nothing after throwing away her magic beans in a fit of rage… Once they all have a taste of loss and grief, they immediately turn on one another and play the blame game. It becomes clear that they each played a role in destroying their own – as well as each other’s – lives. “Be careful what you wish for” never rang truer.

Disney’s new movie highlights the inherent flaws of royalty and peasants, and of “good” and “bad.” I really like how the focus was mainly on the witch and how her character wasn’t truly evil and out to get everybody. She, herself, had been cursed through no fault of her own and even helped others achieve their wishes. I think Disney did a wonderful job here highlighting the complexities of each character, bringing these fairytales to life by making them much more relatable and realistic (morally, at least).

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