life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas festivities

So we did our usual. Movie in the morning, Chinese food for dinner. Chen's buffet, a place we go to often, not much to say except it's a decent inexpensive buffet.

So ...

The movies. Our nearest AMC theater is in the midst of renovations. They're tearing out the conventional seating and replacing it ... With individual reclining chairs. Seriously, each patron gets his or her own recliner, you can sit, you can recline, you can put your feet up. Your seat is not attached to others in the row. There's plenty of room for others to walk past you to get to their own seats. And each chair has its own drink cup holder. This theater even gives you an assigned seat, like at a baseball game, a concert, etc.

The seats were seriously comfortable. So far the price of the movie hasn't really changed, but when you lose half of your capacity...

Anyhow, the movie we saw...Into The Woods.

No surprise there.

After all, I've seen the original Broadway production and the revival, I have both cast albums on CD somewhere, and I love Sondheim.

And this film delivers. Sondheim's music and lyrics are as magnificent as always.

It's a mashup of various Grimm fairy tales. The Baker and his Wife are living under a curse, a curse placed by the Witch who lives next door. To break the curse they must gather ingredients for a potion -- a cape as red as blood, a cow as white as milk, a slipper as pure as gold and hair as yellow as corn. They must go into the woods.

Also in the woods are Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack of beanstalk fame. Their stories are all intertwined.

There was a bit of concern about what might be cut from the film, based on some comments Sondheim made. Some of the elements of the plot are not very "fairytale", after all. Would Disney sanitize the story? Rest assured, all of those "moments" are in the film. Well, except for one.

Spoiler alert.

Yes, you will see the Wolf sing the sexually-tinged "Hello, Little Girl". And yes, the Baker's Wife does have an encounter with Cinderella's Prince. Toned down a bit, but the infidelity is there nevertheless. It's a PG movie, after all.

But Disney did not want to kill off Rapunzel. She does not get crushed by the giant. She simply fades out of the storyline after telling off the witch.

Several songs were cut from Act II. Nothing I really noticed until I looked at the cast album ... with one exception.

Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince have a duet in Act I, a song called "Agony". Very funny song about longing for the girl who must be pursued. In Act II there is a reprise of the song, cut from the movie. Too bad, it was also very funny -- now that each Prince has caught the elusive girl, attention has wandered ... to Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

There was supposed to be a new song so that the movie could qualify for a Best Song Oscar. If it was there, I didn't hear it.

Meryl Streep was perfect as the Witch. Christine Baransky was simply evil as Cinderella's Stepmother. Johnny Depp was lascivious as the Wolf.

Can't wait for the DVD.

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