A Parent’s Guide to Into the Woods (Movie)

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the stories ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Into the Woods by Walt Disney Pictures and Lucamar Productions

Type: Fairy Tale, Musical,

Basic Plot: A couple wants a child very badly and to have one must go search for four different items by going “into the woods.” As they do several other fairy tale characters do the same so that there wishes will also be granted.


Plot and Story Organization: 3/5 Average: The plot was the same as the onstage musical, but there were some changes. Some songs were cut out and some more minor events. Rapunzel does not die in this version, nor do both of the princes go off in search of other woman and die with them. As far as we know the royal family does not die either. The pace of the story felt faster than the onstage version had and slightly rushed, perhaps because of time, but this may also be because movies are now more rushed and action centered than before. Also a very important character was left out of the movie the whole time until the end that constantly appeared in the musical. This made the scene he did appear in a little awkward, as it seemed more random.

Acting: 3/5 Average: The acting was realistic and done well, but the characters seemed a bit over dramatized at times, giving the movie a different feel than the musical. It seemed that the movie was aiming for a more dark and dramatic feel. The onstage musical had a lot of dark things, but it there was a lot of humor and sarcasm added so that it didn’t feel so depressing or dark. The characters in the movie though, (possibly on the director’s instructions) were more dramatic and deep. Several character personalities were made to be overall just more depressing or even slightly nasty; therefore the movie had a much different feel than the onstage musical.

Music: 4/5 Well Done: The music was an amazing quality. All of the actors and actresses sang very well. It was clear, on tune, and strong, making nearly all of the voices enjoyable to listen to. Then again this could be because they used technology to make the voices sound better, but it did not have a very electric or fake sound.

Scenery 5/5 Excellent Quality: The scenes had a good atmosphere, the special affects were anything but cheap, and the costumes were amazing. Quality scenery wise only gets better as the years go by, and this movie is solid proof of that.

Moral: 2½/5 Slightly Hard to Read Moral: The moral was not as easy to or as emphasized in the movie as in the musical. The moral was again to be responsible for your choices as if you refuse to be your life will be sad. The characters either make bad choices or refuse to be responsible, causing bad things to happen until in the end they choose to make the right choice.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I was slightly disappointed with the movie, as the spirit of the movie was changed and things were removed. The latter is understandable to a degree, as this was probably done for time’s sake, but the former irritated me. There is nothing wrong with delivering a play or musical differently, but the movie seemed to entirely change the spirit to the point where I felt I wasn’t really watching Into the Woods even though the plot was the same. Otherwise the movie was not a bad one. The singing and scene quality were both amazing.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Slightly Suggestive: A witch uses “raping” to describe a man stealing from her. There are a lot of low dresses and there is once or twice a girl that shows her wearing tights up to her thighs. Once or twice it shows on men shirts that show part of their chest. There is non marital kissing and kissing between people married to someone else than the one their kissing. Some people find the song Hello Little Girl by the wolf to sound slightly pedophilic and that the song I Know Things Now by Red Riding Hood is her telling about the experience. I’ll leave that to you to decide if it is or not. Lyrics to both songs being here:

Hello Little Girl: http://www.metrolyrics.com/hello-little-girl-lyrics-into-the-woods.html

I Know Things Now: http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-know-things-now-lyrics-into-the-woods.html

Violence: 2/5 Light Violence: A woman smacks another one. A woman hits her son three times and once pulls his ear. She pinches him once. A woman is pushed to the ground and dies. A giant falls off a beanstalk, but it is not shown. People want to and do kill a giantess. Her eyes are pecked out by birds and she collapses. A boy wants to kill a man for killing his mother. A man is thrown into thorns. A man rescues a girl and her grandma that are in a wolf by cutting it open. A person is hit on the back. A girl threatens a boy to not get to close. A woman chops off parts of her daughters’ feet, though it is not shown. Some birds peck out their eyes.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name: 1/5 One or Two Light Utterances: God’s name is misused once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Disturbing Content: A woman chops off parts of her daughters’ feet, though it is not shown. Several people die, though usually not violently. A wolf eats a girl, though it isn’t shown.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Suggestive: A woman talks to the spirit of her mom in a tree. A man talks to his son after he is dead. (Though his death is only implied, so he could technically still be alive.) A woman talks to her husband after she dies.

Magic: 2/5 Fairy Tale Magic: There is a witch and she magically disappears and appears. She cursed a man’s family once and talks about what she could have done. She also brings a cow back to life, that scene being the only one that was a little weird magic wise. There are magic items like magic beans and a potion. A tree has a dress and shoes magically appear.

Other: None

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: There are a lot less deaths in the movie in then in the stage play, and is overall more family friendly. Things that may be considered more controversial were removed, the worst thing probably being the women’s clothes. I recommend the musical age wise to children of any age, but with a bit of warning, as there one or two slightly disturbing scenes.


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