Into the Woods review

Discover what happens after the fairy tales end in Disney's dark-tinged musical...

Fairy tales have been the stock-in-trade at Disney since the studio's earliest days. So it's somewhat bizarre that it financed and distributed this bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's dark and subversive Broadway musical, where a bunch of familiar fairy tale characters learn that happy-endings aren't all they're cracked up to be.

While Disney has softened a few of the original production's edgier elements, director Rob 'Chicago' Marshall does a decent job of bringing Into the Woods to the bigscreen more or less intact. Indeed, our biggest issue is that trying to squeeze a two-act play into a traditional three-act film leaves it feeling rather unbalanced, with the finale stretched almost to breaking point.

Yet thanks to the brilliance of the original material, the excellent cast Marshall has brought together (including wonderfully game scenery-chewing performances from Meryl Streep and Chris Pine as the Witch and Prince Charming), and the creative staging of the musical numbers, Into the Woods rarely strays from the path of success. Definitely one for your collection if you like to sing-along in your home cinema.

Picture: Apart from some black crush in darker scenes, we've no real complaints about this Blu-ray's 2.40:1 Full HD encode. Colours, in particular, are lush, while the clarity and sharpness of the image ensures that fine details are crisply resolved for the most part. There's also no trace of artefacting, edge-enhancement or any other technical tantrums within the AVC encode itself.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: The disc's sonic abilities are even more impressive, giving real presence to the beautifully orchestrated musical numbers, while running the gamut with vocals from whispered dialogue to powerful singing without any problems. And the 7.1 mix doesn't skimp on surround effects, creating convincing 360-degree soundscapes for all of the locations – most notably the woods themselves.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Provided you can navigate the baffling pictorial menu design, Disney's Blu-ray delivers a solid selection of supplementary goodies. There's a deleted musical number; six behind-the-scenes featurettes (There's Something About the Woods, an untitled piece about the cast, Into the Woods: From Stage to Screen, Into the Woods: The Making of the Woods, Into the Woods: Designing the Woods and Into the Woods: The Costumes of the Woods); and an informative chat track featuring Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: An all-singing, all-dancing Blu-ray outing for this darkly amusing big screen musical

Into the Woods, Walt Disney, All-region BD, £25 Approx