A host of beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales receive a cautionary jolt to their happily-ever-afters in "Into the Woods," a lovingly lavish big-screen adaptation of the Tony-winning 1987 Broadway musical by James Lapine and composer Stephen Sondheim. Dark and heavenly, sardonic and touching, the film melodically navigates its every narrative turn and tonal shift with the same grace afforded to its gloriously shrewd music and lyrics. Director Rob Marshall, he of 2002's "Chicago" and 2009's "Nine," lushly mounts this impressive production, a true ensemble piece that gives almost every one of its top-shelf cast members his or her moment to shine. Stunning costumes, visual effects and production design are put to invaluable use, each component adding to the magical goings-on without weighing the story down in overblown histrionics. For all of its whimsy, "Into the Woods" holds a rich, often tenebrous emotional core, one that will prove entirely unexpected by viewers unfamiliar with the show.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review