Bru’s Reviews – INTO THE WOODS AND OUT OF MY MIND January 4, 2015 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The not-so-long-awaited-by-me Disney film version of the Broadway musical. Stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack And The Beanstalk are combined into one singing tale.
With Meryl Streep as a singing witch, James (DOCTOR WHO) Corden as a signing baker, Emily (EDGE OF TOMORROW) Blunt as his singing wife, Johnny Depp as a singing Big Bad Wolf, Chris (STAR TREK) Pine as a singing Prince Charming, and a lot of other actors as singing something-or-others.
Written by James Lapine. Directed by Rob Marshall. Music and lyrics by Steven Sondheim.
- Some of the visuals and cinematography were nice, as were the sets and environments (outside of the woods). Special effects were as good as your typical big-budget flick.
- Costumes were well done also, for the most part. Everyone pretty much looked their part.
- Best line in the whole film: “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.” (I just saved you ten bucks. You’re welcome.) There were some other comedic lines that were funny.
- Great acting, of course, considering the stars. Tracey Ulman was a favorite. Streep actually has a helluva singing voice. James Corden really stood out as the baker; impressive emotional range.
- The Giant’s wife was a great example of how to make something look “higher budget” when you don’t have the money. Basically a mix of creative photography, scale-model sets and sound effects to pull off something bigger.
- The trick used to make Rapunzel’s hair suitable for climbing (without pulling her to the ground) was simple but clever. Couldn’t work in reality, of course, but points for looking believable.
- Chicks (and most gay guys) will dig the two princes singing together with open shirts. [MIKE: My wife’s catchphrase was, “Chris Pine is mighty fine.” Hoo boy.]
- The title song (first one that starts the show) had some clever and humorous lyrics, along with a catchy melody.
- If you ain’t a fan of Broadway musicals and the typical music in them (that “sing-songy,” up-and-down melody and deliberate pronunciation thing they do), this will get on yer nerves very fast. There’s a crapload of songs and singing, and much of it is similar. [MIKE: Even my wife, who’s a big fan of this stuff, noticed the sameness, so it wasn’t just tone-deaf Bru.] HEY! Who’s tone deaf?!
- There are some pretty big liberties taken with the familiar stories, like Cinderella’s slipper being gold instead of glass; and she has no Fairy Godmother or pumpkin coach. The beans are never planted, only “pop” into thin air; some grow overnight, others instantly.
- A couple of the evil stepsisters are kind of hot, but no really good butt or cleavage shots. The English Jack kid has an annoying voice (you’ll cheer when his mom smacks him in the head). Little Red and Cinder ain’t much better.
- Not only do you have to suspend the logic of people singing for no reason when they should be speaking, but also a lot of basic logic stuff:
1. If you’re walking full stride and get stuck in glue, and it takes tremendous effort to get free, you can’t suddenly walk in and out of it again with no difficulty;
2. It’s damn near impossible to lose a cow in the woods when you can run faster than it can;
3. If you cut off someone’s toe, they tend to bleed; same with cutting open a wolf’s tummy (and don’t get me started on that same tummy bigger than a TARDIS inside. WTF??)
4. You can’t run wearing one high-heel shoe; any woman being chased would take it off.
5. Forests generally don’t have hidden cliffs–if there was a cliff, you’d notice it pretty easily.
- Johnny Depp’s “wolf makeup” looked like he was wearing a Halloween costume, complete with Wal-Mart hairy-claw rubber gloves. And by keeping his face human, his creepy song about lusting after Little Red made him sound more like a pedophile than wolf. Yuck.
- The “Miami Vice perpetual 5 O’clock shadow” look seemed noticeably out of time here.
- If a bunch of folks are yelling about a scary giant and talking about his place, you might want to actually SHOW IT TO THE AUDIENCE. All we ever see of the giant are his shoes and the bottom of his butt. Yeah, that’s effective. Not!
- If you reveal a connection between two major characters, you might want to have them discover it, if not meet each other! Otherwise, what’s the point in revealing it?
If you’re a straight male, you’d have a better time watchin’ the insides of your eyelids for two hours. Did I say two hours? It felt longer than all three HOBBIT movies put together. Sure, some of the visuals and effects are nice, but that’s like saying a seven-course vegan meal had good dessert. Unless ya need to punish yourself to score major points with your wife or girlfriend, let her go see it with her gal-pals while you stay home and watch football. Or even two hours of beer commercials.
P.S.: What better way to ring in the New Year than with an awesome art commission of your favorite character(s)? Or YOU or your friend as a favorite character? Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, straight or gay men or women, actor/singers or fairy-tale characters. The only musicals Bru has ever tolerated were SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, UNCUT, ROCK ’N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, and MAMMA, DON’T FEED YOUR BABY HOT DOGS BECAUSE WE’RE TRYIN’ TO WEEN HER.