Into the Woods

Rated 3.0

Rob Marshall’s movie adaptation is nothing very special apart from it’s being a proficiently filmed record of the award-winning musical play written by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. The convergence of re-imagined versions of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, etc., might have been the occasion for a fresh approach to movie fantasy. It’s tempting to ponder what a director with more apposite skills and inclinations—Neil Jordan, Wes Anderson, Jane Campion—might have done with this material. What we do get includes a reasonably good cast: one true star (Meryl Streep) and a couple of others (Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick) who may be truly on the rise, a couple of quirky juveniles (Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood, Daniel Huttlestone as Jack), some marquee names (Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman) in smaller roles, ostensible male leads (James Corden, Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen) doing journeyman duty as unheroic, more-lunk-than-hunk princely types, and one bonkers, scene-stealing cameo (Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf, a wolfish human disguised as a cat wearing hipster threads and a fox’s tail). Cinemark 14 and Feather River Cinemas. Rated PG