Abandoning self interest and coming together for the common good is what advances humanity, So this message is wrapped up in the blockbuster Sondheim musical “Into The Woods” which director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) delivers with gusto, dramatic pacing and a star studded cast.
As the Wicked Witch, Meryl Streep’s character is self absorbed and makes the baker and his wife crazy getting her a magic potion to reverse the ravages of old age (and who doesn’t need that?). Ms. Streep gets a couple of extreme makeovers in the movie.
Johnny Depp recycles some of the makeup left over from “Pirates” as the Big Bad Wolf who seduces Little Red Riding Hood. So the “woods” are the real world after you leave fairy tale land.
If you go for the handsome prince hang onto your popcorn because you get a double dose in the campy duet “Agony” performed by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen. As Prince Charming tells Cinderella, “Although I am charming, I am not faithful.” That sums up the false promise of that fairy tale.
In a rare moment at the West End Theater, the audience applauded during the closing credits. Although it’s a Disney release, it’s too scary for small children but then so are most fairy tales.