Into the Woods

For the most part, everything’s hunky dory here. The sets are delightfully stage-oriented, not film-oriented; even outside of song-and-dance numbers, you’re always utterly convinced that you’re watching a musical. The cast delivers superbly all around, save for Anna Kendrick, who performs likably dialogue-wise, but exhibits perfection in the way her singing voice sounds like nails do when they sing their way down a chalkboard. Meryl Streep’s performance, if it comes as any surprise, is terrific. But all that’s great here is outweighed by the fact that this movie is dark. Going into a movie that Walt Disney Pictures produced, whose plot is based on every fairy tale you can name, you really wouldn’t expect a black comedy, and for some reason, that’s what “Into the Woods” seemed like to me. It’s funny, but in ways that adults may or may not “get,” and kids will no doubt find disturbing. Even the music here has an eerie shape to it. However, if you don’t see what’s so traumatic about reading the original, gruesome Grimm fairy tales to kids as bedtime stories, you might find a great family movie in “Into the Woods”.