The Christian Broadcasting Network

Explore

Blog

Email Updates

Latest entertainment articles and reviews. Subscribe

Weekly CBN.com top stories and videos. Subscribe



Into the Woods

Popcorn Rating

Movie Info

RATING:

PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material

GENRE:

Action/Adventure, Fantasy

RELEASE:

December 25, 2014

STARRING:

Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Johnny Depp

DIRECTOR:

Rob Marshall

DISTRIBUTOR:

Walt Disney Pictures

More on this movie at IMDb.com

More Christian movie reviews

Get the latest on Hollywood Insight: A Christian Movie Blog

Please Note:
In providing movie reviews on our site, CBN.com is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.
CHRISTIAN MOVIE REVIEW

Review: Into the Woods

By Hannah Goodwyn
Senior Producer


CBN.com - "I wish more than anything, more than life, more than jewels…" I wish Into the Woods was more suitable for younger audiences. With its PG rating, Disney backing, big marketing push for its Christmas Day release and innocent-looking movie trailer, newcomers to this storyline wouldn't know the adult-leaning themes Into the Woods gets into (more explanation shared below).

For those familiar with Stephen Sondheim's Broadway hit, this new musical movie—with all of its inclinations—will not disappoint. Director Rob Marshall, who translated Chicago to film, does Sondheim's beloved play a solid. Though it's a pared down version of the three-hour play, and is less dark than the stage version, the heart of the musical still beats strong.

THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE

The Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) have one wish. They wish to have a child. Unable to start a family on their own, they strike a deal with their next-door neighbor, The Witch (Meryl Streep). She promises to reverse "the curse" if they do exactly as she says. They must go into the woods and bring her back items that end up being the possessions of Jack (of beanstalk fame), Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella (Anna Kendrick). With each in the woods after their own wish, the task proves much harder than initially thought, especially as their wishes begin to collide, bringing even more trouble to the dark woods.

THE GOOD AND BAD IN INTO THE WOODS

First, let's examine the cinematic qualities of Into the Woods, the movie. Simply put, it's beautiful—from the elaborate set design and visual effects to the intricate costuming and magical film score. Audiences are in for some seriously good musical numbers—some of them quite clever.

Streep and Johnny Depp (who plays the The Wolf) are unquestionably the big names on the Into the Woods' roster, but these stars don't outshine the rest of this brilliant cast. Really, Marshall couldn't have picked a better group to bring this play to the big screen. A few surprises include Chris Pine's perfectly charming portrayal of The Prince, Blunt's turn as The Baker's Wife and Corden (a comedian of the British variety) as the narrating Baker.

As with any fairy tale, Into the Woods is rife with themes that offer audiences a lesson to takeaway from the story. Some of these are biblically aligned; some are not. Here are just a few of them boiled down to one-line lessons: 1. Your evil deeds will come back to haunt you. 2. The sins of the father may visit the son, but we all have the power to change our fate through our free will. 3. What you wish for may not turn out to be the best for you. 4. Working life out together with your spouse is better than going at it alone. 5. "Charming" men don't guarantee you a "happily ever after".

One of the story's final remarks is encapsulated in the lyric: "You decide what's right. You decide what's good." This do-what-you-want and what's-good-for-you attitude is conflicting.  There's more than that, but you get the point. Into the Woods makes a lot of them.

Officially, Into the Woods has a PG rating for "thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material". But, do not let this "kid-friendly" rating mislead you into thinking this movie is suitable for younger children. Even with the changes made to soften this version, the implied and sung-about violence (including a mother hitting her son – twice), the magical spells, a moment of marital indiscretion, short dresses revealing fishnet stockings and The Wolf's suggestive song "Hello, Little Girl" all make it unfitting for young moviegoers. Some of it may go over kids' heads, but the blinding of characters and slicing of feet (part of the original Cinderella story) are definitely upfront moments inappropriate for small ones.

IN THE END

Speaking from a purely "entertainment" standpoint, Into the Woods is a charming musical that cunningly deconstructs the Disney fairy tales we all know. The magic and mischief in this movie make it one suitable for pre-teens, teenagers and adults. Leave your young children at home.

For more reviews like this one, sign up to receive CBN.com's Entertainment email update.


Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

E-mail me!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

  • Translate
  • Print Page


CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-823-6053
Email your prayer request

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List

 E-mail: