watching, reading, and writing stories

Movie Musicals: Into the Woods Annie

on January 19, 2015

This past week I had the opportunity to see several movies, including the musicals: Into the Woods and Annie. I don’t recall seeing Into the Woods before, but I knew the general plot of rewriting the old fairytales. And Annie has been one of my favorite musicals ever since I was a little kid. I’ve seen it multiple times on stage and I’m pretty sure the old movie version was watched at least once by my family. In any case, I usually like movie adaptations of musicals. I like the music, even if it gets stuck in my head and generally the storylines of musicals are just as compelling as other movies. So into the movie theater I went to see these two movie versions of classic plays.

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I’ll start with Into the Woods, since I saw it first. Even with the familiarity of the fairytale stories, I enjoyed getting to see the characters fleshed out by new actors and I particularly liked seeing Little Red Riding Hood being a sneaky little girl who took way more sweets than she needed. Since I hadn’t seen this play before, I actually thought the movie was over when everyone was getting their happily ever after. I had the brief thought of “what about that other bean stalk?” but everyone was so happy that I thought it wasn’t a big deal. And then the change came, people cheated, died and the happily ever after became a lie. I liked the realism this change brought to the characters and I especially liked the song about who to blame. It’s easy to get caught up in finding someone to blame for our problems, when the truth is we are just as much to blame as they are. So in the end, even though the story changed, I was pleased with the outcome, and how the characters who were still alive had changed too. And the “Into the Woods” song won’t be leaving my thoughts anytime soon.

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Onto Annie, this story I know very well, and I was intrigued by the preview for this movie and how they were updating it for a new generation. A lot of the classic songs were still included and even a tip of the hat to the old version with the opening scene showing a little red headed girl tap dancing who was also named Annie. But then the story shifts and we get to see a world more similar to what we know. And even though new songs were added, characters were changed, and the story departed from the original, I still found myself enchanted by this movie. I especially liked how the lady who boarded the orphan girls had more of a backstory and was more relateable to the audience. I enjoyed her character a lot more than the previous version and was happy that she got to become more of a heroine than a villain in the end. The only complaint I would have is that a few of the songs sounded a little “fake” to me, as if they were recorded by a different actor and then lip-sinked to the one playing the character. But even with that, I still enjoyed the movie.

So if you too enjoy a good musical, I would highly recommend either of these movies.


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