There should be no question about this. Disney’s version of “Into the Woods” might have softened and compressed the story telling of this musical, but both composer Stephen Sondheim and lyricist James Lapine were involved and appear on the bonus features. Yet the must-have part is a Sondheim and Lapine original song that had to be cut.
Director Rob Marshall introduces the song, “She’ll Be Back,” and there’s a bit about his angst at cutting a new Sondheim/Lapine song AND Streep’s moving performance. Yet the exclusion from the original film and the inclusion on the DVD/Blu-ray makes a fantastic selling point.
“Into the Woods” debuted in Southern California, at the San Diego Old Globe Theatre in 1986 to be exact. It’s original Broadway cast included Bernadette Peters as the Wtich and Joanna Gleason as the Baker’s Wife. Competing against “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Into the Woods” won Best Score, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical at the Tony Awards.
The plot intertwines the fairy tales of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Rapunzel,” by using an original story about a childless baker and his wife. The couple (Emily Blunt and James Corden) live next door to a Witch (Meryl Streep) who has cursed them with infertility. She herself is cursed and needs them to get a cow as white as milk, a cloak as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a shoe as pure as gold. The cow belongs to Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) who will sell the cow for magic beans to the Baker’s wife. The cloak belongs to Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford). The hair belongs to Rapunzel. The shoe belongs to Cinderella (Anna Kendrick). All of the tales will come to a happy ending half-way through the movie when things become unraveled. Everything won’t end happily ever after.
Yet for the Sondheim/Lapine fans, this DVD/Blu-ray ends happily with the aforementioned special feature–a new original song sung by Streep.
Other features help viewers better appreciate the art of movie making from the conceptualization to the construction of The Woods so the costuming. And just in time for Easter, this DVD/Blu-ray has five Golden (Easter) Eggs.
For those who feel that the musical is all about the music, a bonus feature gives direct access to the musical song segments from the film, with optional sing-along lyrics.
- Never-Before-Seen Sondheim Original Song: “She’ll Be Back”
- There’s Something About The Woods
- The Cast As Good As Gold
- Deeper Into The Woods
- Filmmaker Commentary (by Director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca)
- Music & Lyrics
- 5 Golden Eggs (Easter Eggs)
The Bonus feature “Deeper Into The Woods” includes:
- From Stage To Screen
- Magic of the Woods
- Designing the Woods
- The Costumes of the Woods
FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 125 min.
RATING: Feature Film: PG in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF
- Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition / 2.39:1
- DVD Feature Film = 2.39:1
- Blu-ray = 7.1 DTS
- DVD = 5.1 Dolby
LANGUAGES: English, French & Spanish
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French & Spanish