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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Once Upon a Time...

"I wish. More than life. More than anything."

Not that Once Upon a Time (although both are Disney properties).

So here's the thing. I know my Broadway classics, I really do; when we were kids it was the one art form that all of us kids agreed was acceptable (rather than, say, opera or ballet or symphonies). We were a culturally literate lot, and we just enjoyed the musicals more than the rest. After all, if you've read this blog, you know that my dad and my siblings and I go to a show every spring, and that we make up cookie-selling songs and lullabies to the tune of Summertime, and that I enjoyed using examples from Fiddler on the Roof and The King and I and South Pacific and even West Side Story in my cultural communications classes.

But my favorite for years was Into the Woods. The version I know best is the original Broadway cast as seen on American Playhouse; I have the DVD. And today I saw the movie.

Anna Kendrick is a really good Cinderella, and I looooove James Corden (ever since I saw him on Doctor Who) as the Baker. Meryl Streep as the Witch was fabulous and Chris Pine was at his James Kirk ham-and-cheesy best as Prince Charming. He was raised to be charming, not sincere, you know.

And although Johnny Depp is a good casting choice (IMO) as the Wolf (he always does creepy well), I found him a bit more disconcerting than usual in this story. I think it was because that except for children's versions of the play (which are toned down anyway), I have always seen Little Red Riding Hood portrayed as about fourteen (as well as Jack, ditto). They're usually played by (young) adults, but clearly meant to be in their mid-teens, not actual children.

In the film they can't be more than ten, which makes Red's encounter with the Wolf even creepier and more pedophilic than usual. As well as Jack's line, "And she draws you close to her giant breast," which also seems... iffy.

There were a couple of songs missing (So Happy, for instance, and the reprise of Agony from the second act), but you can't have everything. And it was well worth the price of a ticket, especially in the Girls' Night Out in which I saw it, with other grown-up women rather than with the kids.

I'll have to get the DVD when it is released.

"And happily ever after!... <beat> I wish!"