An onscreen musical adapted from a stage version by Stephen Sondheim, Disney’s Into the Woods is a rabbit hole of clashing myths, legends and fairy tales. Dive right in and follow a baker and his wife as they attempt to dispel a witch’s curse, which renders them childless. To counter the spell, the couple journey into – you guessed it – the woods, a dark and twisted grove filled with strange creatures both good and evil. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, here are five reasons why you need to catch Disney’s Into the Woods.
A huge ensemble cast
It’s an extravangaza of the who’s who of Hollywood. Emily Blunt plays the lead protagonist, a baker’s wife who ventures into the forest to break the cruel spell; Anna Kendrick stars as a Cinderella mourning the death of her marriage; Meryl Streep turns wicked as the witch; Chris Pine gets his douche on as Prince Charming; and Johnny Depp is straight up weird as the well-dressed wolf. On the strength of this cast alone, Disney’s Into the Woods makes great popcorn fodder.
Fairy tales overload
Ever wondered what would happen if Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers and Charles Perrault were best buds? Disney’s Into the Woods is like a collaboration between the iconic writers, with all their characters occupying the same fictional universe. So expect Little Red Riding Hood teaming up with Prince Charming, Cinderella locking horns with Jack (of the beanstalk fame), and other curious mash-ups.
Streep plays the main antagonist of Disney’s Into the Woods, a cackling old hag who had her precious magic beans stolen by the baker’s father – so she’s out for delicious vengeance. ‘This Witch is different,’ claims the veteran actress. ‘First of all, she transforms. Her whole reason for being is to reverse a curse that has been placed on her. She sets in motion all sorts of devices and causes a dramatic upheaval in everybody’s lives.’
The film has been nominated for Best Motion Picture at the upcoming Golden Globes, and Blunt and Streep also received nods for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the same ceremony. There are even whispers that the latter might be in the running for an Oscar.
Captains Kirk and Jack Sparrow sing
Pine and Depp, who starred in Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean, respectively, flex their vocal cords with tunes composed by Stephen Sondheim. But they’re not alone – there are tried-and-tested singers within their ranks. Tammy Blanchard, who plays one of Cinderella’s step-sisters, has done her fair share of Broadway musicals; Daniel Huttlestone, who plays Jack, was Gavroche in 2012’s Les Misérables; and Lilla Crawford, who plays Little Red Riding Hood, took on the roles of Annie and Billy Elliot on Broadway.
Disney’s Into the Woods is in cinemas from Jan 15.