‘Into the Woods’: What the Actual Heck?!

I love musicals. They can be whimsical and fun, heartbreaking and grim, but my latest musical adventure featuring Into the Woods has got to be the most confusing musical I have ever seen (I haven’t seen Cats yet but I’m determined to give it a go one of these days.)

Into the Woods, a musical that dropped during Christmas time six! years just became available to watch on Disney+ today and at first, I was kind of enjoying the film.

The movie took several classic fairy tale stories and wove them together for a grand adventure that should’ve known when to stop…but the writers bit off more than they could chew. When the movie moves past the known content and goes original the entire tone of the musical changed.

It went from being a PG fairy tale flick/musical that was ultimately easy to stomach to becoming what I felt was a PG-13 style drama that dealt with affairs, death, killing, loneliness, and just a lot of misery in general. When the film concluded, I was left staring at the screen with crinkled eyebrows wondering what the heck I had just witnessed.

The film has a stacked cast; Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, James Corden (*slam on the brakes*)…oh, that’s where it all went wrong didn’t it? Every musical Corden touches turns into a complete joke…or travesty, and this musical was no exception.

The opening number was impressive, I have to admit, but the rest of the movie was just bad. Poorly written, poorly developed, the songs went from okay to bad, and the end was just sad. I don’t know who at Disney greenlit this pot of depression but I’m not a fan.

2.5/5 stars (and that’s mostly for the opening number.)

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

4 thoughts on “‘Into the Woods’: What the Actual Heck?!”

  1. “Pot of depression”… 🤣

    Yeah. I remember seeing this, vaguely. I remember it being a steaming hot mess. I don’t even remember how it ended any more, other than that it was weird, and I don’t even want to look it up.

    This wasn’t even the only attempt Disney made at this around that time, either. See also: “Once Upon a Time.” In fairness, that started off well. It was neat, and it took a fresh take on how the lives of many, many fairy tale stories could be mixed together in a far less cutesy fashion.

    And then ultimately they started running out of characters to do this sort of flashback, dual-world storytelling in every episode. So they sort of kept doing it, but they paced themselves to just largely do it once or twice a season. You’d have a villain and accompanying heroes. They’d each have their own origin stories of how they’d fit in. But since you can only really do one or two stories per half season that way, they streeeeeeeetched that stuff out. Sometimes the payoff worked. A lot of the time, it didn’t.

    And when they got to the part where Hook, who was portrayed as an anti-heroic character who’d been treated like a good guy and even a romantic interest for the leading woman of the series, found out in his past that he had a half brother and resolved all his daddy issues my murdering his father while his sibling is sleeping, and leaving his young half-brother to implicitly find their father murdered on the ground outside their front door in the morning? And this is still supposed to be a good guy? Oh, and meanwhile they unraveled all the story building of finally not having Rumpelstiltskin being “the dark one” (which was getting beyond tires by this point in the series) while making him more powerful than ever, all at once?

    …and did both of these damn near unforgivable plot points ALL IN THE SAME EPISODE?

    Yeah. I rage quitted the series. On the spot. I literally said out loud as soon as I turned the TV off, “I can’t do this show any more.” And on the rare occasion when I’ll pull up a wiki of where it went from there? I am in no way regretful. It didn’t get better.

    So yeah. “Into the Woods” was kind of like that, except it was at least mercifully over in a couple hours. Even if there wasn’t nearly as much to redeem it along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’ve been thinking about watching Once Upon a Time on Disney+ but after hearing how awful it was…maybe it would be best to stay away.

      If I did decide to watch it when would you recommend me stopping the series?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s hard to say. I’ll do a mini dive here while looking up stuff on the wiki and comparing it to my memory, and you can judge for yourself.

        Season 1 was rather good, it really was. The original “curse” on the town, and the Evil Queen’s efforts to keep it going while Emma was doubtfully bumbling her way through and finding things out as she went, and almost every episode had a very well thought out back story on one or two of the supporting characters. It really had promise here.

        Season 2 got a little weird. That one is kind of a blur to me. They changed the format after the first season’s curse ended, and it turned into sort of a power struggle between the two main villains, which only partially got resolved.

        I almost quit on season 3 – they had a rather major plot point where Rumple was completely terrified of Peter Pan, who was a villain instead of a hero, but while they came up with an interesting twist as to why that relationship was significant they never did explain Rumple’s fear. This is compounded by a rather unfortunate moment where a character leaves a mystery clue that “a woman” is doing something awful in a desperate phone call, and they carefully avoided pointing out that it was the only black woman in the whole town, which would have both removed the mystery immediately and lampshaded a rather unfortunate #OUATSoWhite feature of the series as a whole. The payoff of Peter Pan’s secrets was kind of interesting, but we were definitely into “stretch out the drama for a whole a half season until we pay it off in the finale in tortured ways” territory here, with a side of “random supporting character melodramatically starts accusing someone of lying to them because the writers made up a new plot point that the main characters didn’t tell them about, largely because it hadn’t been written yet.” You’ll know it when you see it. It’ll probably start to annoy you with the contrivance; it definitely started to annoy me. If so, that wouldn’t be a terrible place to stop. The other half with the Wicked Witch of the West did a similar thing, but she was at least more interesting than Pan was, better explained, and better acted. So I sorta forgave that in real time. But… this might’ve been a good place to stop.

        Season 4 had the Frozen characters in a half season drive-by. The actual main characters from the movie were HORRIBLY done. The villain they had as the “alt” Snow Queen was rather interesting, but… I could forgive you for stopping there. The other half with the romance with Regina was interesting, but… I don’t know if it held up well.

        If you haven’t given up on it yet by the end of season 4, you’re at a point of no return, because the first half of season 5 is where I finally rage quitted. The first half was, as I said, rather interesting, because this is where they finally stripped Rumple of his power and finally did something fresh and original… until it ended by destroying the freshness and giving us the terrible side plot of Hook killing his father, as described above. And that’s the point where I just couldn’t continue. I’ve never been more immediately decisive about “yeah, I can’t go on. I’m done” with a show more than that episode. I’ve pretty much got that mid season finale and the series ending of “How I Met Your Mother” as the two most upsetting episodes of television I’ve ever watched in my life. And not in an “upsetting because something bad happened, but it was still a good story” way, but in an “upsetting because they did this horribly, I wish I’d never seen this, and I just can’t go on” way.

        I don’t get to that mental place easy. I’m slightly less forgiving of stuff I watch than you are, and sometimes I’ll stop because something bores me, but I don’t often stop because it *upsets* me. I’ve only ever quit on watching a movie in actual anger once in my life. To be precise: “Step Brothers.” I got about halfway through and went, “I hate every single character in this movie” and stopped watching. I’m just… not a fan of “stupid” comedy. On a similar note, I’ve got “Dumb and Dumber” firmly ensconced next to “Twilight” on my list of “maybe I would watch it for rapturous love, life altering amounts of money, or at gunpoint, but not because I ever truly want to” movies. I’m a very stubborn soul about wanting to finish what I start. Usually if I don’t think I’ll like something, I just don’t try it to begin with. So it’s very, very rare for me to actually start something and then simply refuse to go on. In all honesty, I’m not sure OUAT isn’t alone on that list. (thinking) There’s probably a sci fi show I didn’t finish that way in the 90s somewhere.

        So yeah. If you wanna watch it, you’ll probably be entertained for at least a season or two. I might even go back and watch OUAT-in-Wonderland because it was short and I did like what I saw. But the main OUAT definitely starts to turn into a slow motion train wreck no later than about season 3, and while I had just enough interest to keep going, somewhere in there it just became too much.

        So… use your own judgment. It starts good. But it gets really bad.

        Liked by 1 person

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