INTO THE WOODS.
I liked it…a lot.
Meryl Streep is impossible to look away from – nothing new in that. I am always amazed at the energy, imagination, and range of Ms. Streep in the projects she chooses. Hell, I think I was the first one standing at the opening night of the film version of MAMMA MIA at the Kentucky Theater. It was a brave choice and I loved her performance.
The songs in this show are engaging and clever – nothing new in that. It’s Stephen Sondheim.
The stories Sondheim mashed up to create the narrative of INTO THE WOODS are some of the most exciting stories ever told…and told and told. Again, nothing new here. Giants, witches, philandering princes, magical legumes, senior-citizen-devouring wolves; this is the stuff of legends. Oh wait, they are legends.
I will watch this film for the rest of my life, perhaps in bits and pieces as I stumble across it while channel-surfing, but I’ll watch it from now on and happily so.
But let’s be honest. There’s nothing new here. Nothing has been added to the luster of Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, or Little Red Riding Hood. It’s simply cultural comfort food.
And I’m OK with that. I watch old films over and over, and indulge in cutting-edge speculations as to what Frank Capra could have done with a Godzilla film. But I also wonder what would happen if Mr. Sondheim wrote something totally new…specifically for film…specifically for Meryl Streep. That, for me, would be wandering into a woods wonderful and unknown and scary and thrilling.
I’d like that…a lot.