Monday, January 26, 2015

Into the Woods ★★1/2

    It would be quite discourteous of me, and somewhat unethical (with regard to my obligations to the public), if I did not give my opinion of this film outright: Disney's "Into the Woods" is a failed attempt to once again bombard audiences with a sense of moral implication while essentially presenting a mishmash of aged fairy tales to accommodate a bland narrative of its own. Although its length is warranted considering its intentions, by the end of the viewing, I could not help but pine for a "happily ever after" endingthe kind in which Disney had built their foundation.

    With a picture so dependent on its ensemble cast, there is little to boast about here, except, of course, for the fact that their execution in song is on par with what is necessitated by the medium. (It is borderline insufferable to view a musical with a poor representation in this field, which undoubtedly leads to the belching out of notes to a nonexistent back row and to the compromising of the genre's subtle nature.)

    We drudge along as each character sings their tune of internal conflict, which is approximately the only exhibition of characterization at hand. They want, they need, they desireall in an effort to build up the theme of the taleand even though most of the aspirations are relative (the wishing of a family, the essential need to be loved for who you truly are, etc.), it seems forced more so than anything else.

    This is surely not to mention the fact that each song is entirely banal, much like the film itself, and when it actually does break the mold, it is in an utterly ridiculous fashion. (This is in reference to the agony infused number sung by the two princes. You know, the one in which they splash around a stream and expose their bare chests for seemingly no reason.)

    The shining star of the production is Meryl Streep along with the accompanying handiwork of the makeup crew. Streep, whose beauty has progressed gracefully over her highly prestigious career, is as elegant as I've ever seen her, and she never relents in vitality. She is menacing in stature, yet empathetic when she needs to be, and Streep never loses control over several scenes where plausibility becomes suspect. Naturally, one would expect her presence to stand above the rest, but it would seem that her charisma only highlights the lack thereof when it comes to the overall spirit of the film.   

    However, it would seem that the most prominent deficiency in "Into the Woods" is the setting. The "woods," which we are told is an inevitable destination no matter what errand one may be running, fulfills its purpose as the determiner of character, which, consequently, compromises the film entirely. I mean, think about it. If the unadulterated persuasion of the forest is to blame for our characters' actions, then where is the validity? It transforms our resident personalities into pawns of sorts in hopes of (can you guess?) providing us with a moral suggestion.

    So, what is it exactly that Disney is trying to convey? What message are they attempting to weave, which would make themin the famous words of Percy Shelley (with regard to artists)"the unacknowledged legislators of the world?"

    Conveyances of knowledge (and aspects of humanity) such as selfishness, desire, self-indecision, guilt, loss, gain, and most notably, egoism, permeate the picture. These ideas are combated with the optimism of utilitarian thoughts and collaboration. We are even blatantly prescribed the sentimental fallacy that "no one is alone." Although it is an admirable attempt by Disney to bestow such lessons upon its audiences, this formula becomes easily tiresome, and it simply makes one yearn for their golden years, where imagination superseded personal belief.

    And the reason for this motivational broadcast is entirely evident: The film industry has one of the largest followings of all. Which brings up another issuebranding. Back in the 1940s and 50s, studios exploited successful pairings of actors and directors to increase their revenue. Disney utilizes its image to not only flourish financially but to relay its institutional opinions. We love every product they produce because of the name above it. Nevertheless, we have to be able to see through this manipulation so that we may view the outcome in an objective light, and in this particular instance, it is simply prosaic.

No comments:

Post a Comment