With the brand new character posters and the first official full length trailer released this past week, it seems like everyone is hyped about the stage-to-screen version of one of Sondheim’s most famous musicals. A stunning visual design, great performances and faithfulness to the source material, are some of the things the fans expect from this version of Into the Woods -but will it deliver?
A look at the promotional material for the film might give us some clues. Here are 5 things we learned from the full trailer for Into the Woods:
It looks like a true film
For an inexperienced filmmaker, it could be quite tempting to make the movie version of any musical look like a recorded version of the original stage show, especially in a case like Into the woods, where most of the scenes take place in the same location.
However, it takes only a look at the trailer to dispel any worries raised by the cinematic quality of the film. Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) shows once again his profound sensibility towards the musical. He’s a director whom understand the media, and knows how to conjure a high-quality adaptation of any show.
Even if the performances fall flat –a tall order, considering such a talented cast-, the trailer for Into the Woods shows us the glimpse of a movie-world we’ll definitely want to revisit.
The focus is on the Witch
Although the Witch is tremendously important in the original play, the Baker is probably the most prominent character of the story. Still, a newcomer couldn’t tell that from merely watching the trailer, since the focus is undoubtedly on Meryl Streep’s portrayal of the Witch.
James Corden, whom plays the Baker, is almost entirely absent throughout the preview, and he’s even eclipsed by the Baker’s Wife, played by Emily Blunt, whose name precedes his during the introduction of the actors, and is already being pitched for Best Leading Actress for the next edition of the Academy Awards.
So is Disney overshadowing and changing the film’s hero? Probably not. Yet the marketing team definitely is.
The dark tone is there
Every Sondheim fan shares the same concern over Into the Woods: will it be Disney-fied? Earlier this year, Sondheim himself raised more doubts as he confirmed that some fundamental changes to the story had taken place. Those same rumors were dispelled later, but the spark had already ignited the reservations of fans. After all, Disney has in its hands a musical which deals with death, adultery, sexual desire and more.
Nonetheless, a look at the trailer tells us some of the most pivotal dark scenes are still there, and the atmosphere seems to be as gloomy as in the original.
Too gloomy, perhaps? Perhaps a question still left unanswered is if Sondheim’s particularly dark humor has survived in this adaptation, or if it will be a hit-or-miss, like in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
The music will be a treat
Whenever untrained actors touch materials such as Sondheim’s, purists immediately express their many concerns about the performer’s abilities to be truly faithful to the original. Still, while Meryl Streep might not be Bernadette Peters vocally, there’s no doubt the cast has done its best, and the little snippets of music in the trailer are enough confirmation of that.
On the other hand, the enriched orchestration will certainly shine through at the cinemas, and it will be quite the experience to simply enjoy it in the dark.
Wicked is one little step away
Although not directly related to Into the Woods, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the involvement of Wicked’s producers in this film could be seen as a beacon of hope for fans who’ve asked for a stage-to-screen adaptation of the musical for years.
Since both plays have a similar approach to iconic characters and stories from literature, a successful reception of Into the Woods might be enough confirmation to spur a movie adaptation of the beloved musical. There’s already rumors of early casting considerations, so this might be the little push the production needs.
What are you most excited –or worried- about the upcoming Into the Woods film? Share your thoughts in the comments!