Into the Woods begins as any fairy tale does with the words “once upon a time”. A girl who we all know as Cinderella wants to go to the king’s festival; a boy named Jack plays pretend with his cow; Rapunzel sits in her tower wishing for company; and Little Red Riding hood goes to visit her grandmother after getting bread from the baker and his wife who want a child above all else.
Then the town witch (Meryl Streep) makes a grand, and over dramatic, entrance telling the baker of how she cursed his family and kidnapped his baby sister because his father stole beans,among other things, from her garden. The baker and his wife are heartbroken and ask how to lift the curse. So the witch instructs them to get a golden slipper, hair like silk, a cow as white as milk, and a hood as red as blood. To top it all off they only have three days to do it and must be done at midnight or the spell won’t work. Just your traditional Disney fairy tale right? No. When the writer of this famous play based his story of the Grimms brother’s tale, he made it as grim as he could. From stepsisters having toes and heels cut of to cheating princes– this movie has it all.
The story follows the baker and his wife as they split up to gain and then lose and then find the items they need to get for the witch as they interact with the other stories. If you have ever taken a literature class or have children going with you I do not recommend seeing this movie. As you follow the story, you begin to see the underlying themes. For example the Big Bad Wolf doesn’t eat Red and her grandmother–he rapes them.
As the story continues, you have one prince chase Cinderella into the woods after she panics and leaves, and his brother visit Rapunzel in her tower in the woods. Later, they meet to complain about not be able to reach their “true loves” as they break out into what is supposed to be a funny and dramatic song and dance. However, it was horribly done and, like the rest of the movie, is overdone.
About a third of a way into the movie the baker and his wife finally acquire everything they need for the witches spell, and everybody gets what they deserve. The stepsister have their eyes pecked out, the giant is killed, and the witch loses her daughter (Rapunzel). Cinderella marries her prince and Rapunzel finally leaves her tower and goes with her prince, Jack and his mother become rich, Little Red Riding Hood gets a new hood made from the wolf, and the baker and his wife get a child.
Honestly, Disney should have stopped the trainwreck of a movie right then, but they had to keep going to meet a two hour requirement. After Cinderella and the Prince’s wedding a giantess comes down a beanstalk to avenge her husband who Jack accidentally killed. Once again the baker and his wife along with Jack’s mother, Cinderella, and Red set off back into the woods to save Jack. After they split up the prince and the baker’s wife make out for quite some time, and then she falls off a cliff.
After this, the baker abandons his son then comes back and he, Jack, Red, and Cinderella kill the giantess. After this they plan to go back to the village and all live together. There is just one problem with this: the village was destroyed. A poor ending to a poorly done movie.