Thursday, September 20 , 2018, 2:18 pm | Fair 73º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Into the Woods’

3 Stars — Enchanting

Into the Woods brings Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical to the screen. Rarely does a film adaptation of a great stage show ever live up to the magic of the theater; however, this may be one of those rare opportunities where cinema trumps Broadway!

Into the Woods is a remarkably satisfying story that will reignite any adult’s heart for the classic children’s stories of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

This is one of those musicals that you either love or hate. These are not tunes to hum, nor are the songs going to be sung by every child who wants to belt out “Let It Go” from Frozen.

On the other hand, lovers of grand theater have always adored Sondheim and this magical story tying together Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel where they face a wicked witch marvelously played by Meryl Streep, and deliciously brought to the screen by Rob Marshall in a way that will make you smile for two hours and wish for more. Johnny Depp as the big bad wolf chasing after little red riding hood is worth the price of admission alone!

There is nothing new to tell about these fairy tales that you don’t already know. It is the cleverness of how they are all tied together that gives this Sondheim musical something that is captivating.

People sometimes ask how it is that violent tales appeal to children, or are dismissed as harmless bedtime stories? This does take place in the scary dark woods after all, and small children might be frightened by what lurks in the shadows of the trees. It is probably good to remember that these were written in a different time and the kinds of fears that children face today being very different than two centuries ago. On the other hand, today the amount of violence that the average child sees on television in the first 10 years of their life contains more murders than most people ever heard of in their entire lifetime in times past.

What distinguishes the value of a Grimm fairy tale is the same as a Disney film today — good always triumphs over evil — and in both worlds of storytelling they all live happily ever after.

Discussion

» The Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, wrote their tales in the early part of the 1800s. That makes these tales exactly 200 years old. How do you think the brothers would have changed their settings and characters if they had been writing today? How would they be the same?

» When we think of people going through great trial and then being able to “live happily ever after,” we recognize that this is the longing of every human. How have you found this to be true or not true in your own life?

» If you have seen both the stage play and the film, which would you say best portrays the story? Why do you answer as you do?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >