Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: More female characters, more ethnic representation, more accents, more good acting. Perhaps most interestingly, The Force Awakens also has more music in the same vein as the previous Star Wars films.

I don’t aim to spoil anything, so I’m not even going to talk about the plot other than to say that it’s pretty good and doesn’t have as many plot holes as its predecessors–though it does ring of a very familiar plot path. But, if it worked before, why not now?

The main goal of this post is to talk about who should and shouldn’t watch the new Star Wars.

  1. Don’t watch the new Star Wars unless you’ve seen the first three (the main series, not the prequels). This isn’t a necessity per se, but you’ll appreciate the movie much more if you understand the central conflict between the Rebels and the Empire and the roles of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, etc.
  2. Don’t watch the new Star Wars with little kids–especially if they’re prone to nightmares. Most of the movie is fine, but there are a couple scenes that could fuel bad dreams. The special effects are much better now than they were when the first series was produced, which allows for more thrillingly (and frighteningly) realistic aliens and injuries.
  3. Do watch the new Star Wars if you’re interested and not disqualified by the first two don’ts. It was cool to watch the Star Wars title come onto the screen and the original theme music blast through the theater. The theater, by the way, was packed for the Imax 3D showing on a Tuesday night.

I think that covers the basics, but if you have any other questions about the film or want specifics, just comment below.

Focus on the Lyrics Friday: Over the Love

“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”

Today marks the 90th anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. To celebrate, today’s song is Florence + The Machine’s “Over the Love” from the 2013 film adaptation. The song plays softly for a short time during (surprise, surprise) a party scene. Outside the movie, though, the song is much more powerful and the lyrics shine like the green light.


Lyrics

Ever since I was a child,
I’ve turned it over in my mind.
I sang by that piano, tore my yellow dress and,
Cried and cried and cried.

And I don’t wanna see what I’ve seen,
To undo what has been done.
Turn off all the lights,
Let the morning come.

Now there’s green light in my eyes,
And my lover on my mind.
And I’ll sing from the piano, tear my yellow dress and,
Cry and cry and cry,
Over the love of you.

On this champagne, drunken hope,
Against the current, all alone,
Everybody, see, I love him.

‘Cause it’s a feeling that you get,
When the afternoon is set,
On a bridge into the city.

And I don’t wanna see what I’ve seen,
To undo what has been done.
Turn off all the lights,
Let the morning come.

Now there’s green light in my eyes,
And my lover on my mind.
And I’ll sing from the piano, tear my yellow dress and,
Cry and cry and cry.

‘Cause you’re a hard soul to save,
With an ocean in the way,
But I’ll get around it,
I’ll get around it.

‘Cause you’re a hard soul to save,
With an ocean in the way,
But I’ll get around it.

Now there’s green light in my eyes,
And my lover on my mind.
And I’ll sing from that piano, tear my yellow dress and,
Cry and cry and cry and,
Over the love of you.

Cry and cry and cry and,
Over the love of you.

Cry and cry and cry and,
(I can see the green light),
(I can see it in your eyes).

[The song goes on to repeat variations of these last lines for a while and it’s beautiful.]

Analysis

“Over the Love” is from Daisy Buchanan’s perspective. There will be many references to Gatsby in this post, so if you’re not familiar with the story and don’t want it spoiled, I suggest leaving the page here. It’s been over a year since I’ve read the story, so if I get anything wrong, please correct me.

1) “Ever since I was a child, / I’ve turned it over in my mind. / I sang by that piano, tore my yellow dress and, / Cried and cried and cried.”

When Daisy was younger, she and Gatsby were lovers. I believe the “it” which she’s turned over in her mind is “the love” referenced in the title. Two girls in yellow dresses attend Gatsby’s first party, which is (if I remember correctly) when this song is played in the film. I think the reference to a yellow dress does more than just pay homage to the unnamed characters; rather, I believe it’s a nod to the symbolism of the color yellow. Throughout the book, yellow represents false wealth, as it is a fake gold. In tearing her yellow dress in this song, Daisy tears herself away from false wealth (which I feel represents Gatsby, the personification of new money). This would also explain why she cries.

2) “And I don’t wanna see what I’ve seen, / To undo what has been done. / Turn off all the lights, / Let the morning come.”

The speaker wishes she could “undo” something, though it is unclear whether she means she wishes she didn’t have a history with Gatsby or she wishes she hadn’t married. Personally, I think it’s the latter. The concept of turning off all the lights and letting the morning come is reminiscent of new beginnings. In essence, the singer wishes she could start over.

3) “Now there’s green light in my eyes, / And my lover on my mind. / And I’ll sing from the piano, tear my yellow dress and, / Cry and cry and cry, / Over the love of you.”

The “green light” is the light of Daisy’s house Gatsby sees from his backyard. The light symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams, particularly in association with Daisy and “green,” or money. It is the one thing in the darkness he reaches towards. On a broader level, the green light represents the American dream. Since I interpret the song from Daisy’s perspective, the “green light in my eyes” shows she sees the same dream Gatsby does, but the light seems to blind her rather than illuminate the world around her. Gatsby is also the “lover” of whom she thinks. The singer also reveals here that she’s crying “over the love of you.” This could be interpreted two ways; either Daisy cries to get over her love of Gatsby or she cries for her love of Gatsby. Knowing Daisy, I tend to agree with the first.

4) “On this champagne, drunken hope, / Against the current, all alone, / Everybody, see, I love him.”

Despite taking place during the prohibition, alcohol played a prominent role in the 1920s. I interpret this to mean the speaker only has hope when drunk. It’s hopeless to think she could be with Gatsby. The individual who fights “the current, all alone” is not named. It could be Gatsby, fighting the realists for a taste of illusion. It could also be Daisy, unsure of what exactly she wants, isolated by her situation. I think it’s interesting that someone could feel “all alone” in an atmosphere filled with elaborate parties, but that’s really how the novel paints Gatsby–isolated, even when surrounded. The “him” the speaker says she loves could either be a sarcastic comment about her husband or a genuine comment about Gatsby. I think that she would say “you” if she meant Gatsby, but I could be wrong. All in all, this passage is fairly ambiguous.

5) “‘Cause it’s a feeling that you get, / When the afternoon is set, / On a bridge into the city.”

Again, I think the “it” refers to love. Love is a feeling you get in the evening on a bridge into the city. The bridge mentioned is the Queensboro Bridge, which connects New York City to Manhattan. At one point, the novel actually remarks, “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.” I think these lines refer to that quote.

6) “‘Cause you’re a hard soul to save, / With an ocean in the way, / But I’ll get around it, / I’ll get around it.”

I believe the “you” refers to Gatsby again. Gatsby’s “soul” is buried deep in his fantasies of what could be. The “ocean in the way” refers to both the literal body of water separating the east and west eggs of Manhattan and the metaphorical obstacle of living in reality versus living in an illusion. It could also be a reference to the obstacle of Daisy’s marriage. She says she’ll find away “around” this obstacle, but we know by the end that she doesn’t.

7) “I can see the green light, / I can see it in your eyes.”

Not only does the Daisy of this song “see the green light,” but she sees it reflected “in your [Gatsby’s] eyes.” She recognizes how set Gatsby is on achieving his dream and how she responds to that is unresolved by the end of the song.

Overall, I think this song is about more than just Daisy’s perspective in The Great Gatsby. It’s about the tragedy of hoping when it’s hopeless. It’s about a love that part of you knows will never come into fruition. It’s about the green light and the yellow dress and everything that’s fake, everything that deceives us. It’s a raw, hauntingly beautiful song–as hauntingly beautiful as the book itself.

Focus on the Lyrics Friday: I See Fire

I’m terribly sorry for not posting last weekend. I didn’t skip out for anything fun; in fact, my weekend was spent doing homework. The highlight of last weekend was a tough call between the thesis workshop for the Honors Program and the dumpster fire for which my dorm was evacuated at 3 AM. We’re all okay, though a bit tired.

If nothing else, seeing the fire inspired me to take a closer look at Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” for this week’s column.


Lyrics

Oh, misty eye of the mountain below
Keep careful watch of my brother’s souls
And should the sky be filled with fire and smoke
Keep watching over Durin’s sons

If this is to end in fire
Then we should all burn together
Watch the flames climb high into the night
Calling out “father, oh, stand by and we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on
The mountain side high”

And if we should die tonight
We should all die together
Raise a glass of wine for the last time
Calling out “father, oh,
Prepare as we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on
The mountain side”

Desolation comes upon the sky

Now I see fire
Inside the mountain
I see fire
Burning the trees
And I see fire
Hollowing souls
I see fire
Blood in the breeze
And I hope that you’ll remember me

Oh, should my people fall then
Surely I’ll do the same
Confined in mountain halls
We got too close to the flame
Calling out father oh
Hold fast and we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on
The mountain side

Desolation comes upon the sky

Now I see fire
Inside the mountains
I see fire
Burning the trees
And I see fire
Hollowing souls
I see fire
Blood in the breeze
And I hope that you’ll remember me

And if the night is burning
I will cover my eyes
For if the dark returns then
My brothers will die
And as the sky is falling down
It crashed into this lonely town
And with that shadow upon the ground
I hear my people screaming out

And I see fire
Inside the mountains
I see fire
Burning the trees
I see fire
Hollowing souls
I see fire
Blood in the breeze

I see fire (fire)
Oh, you know I saw a city burning out
And I see fire (fire)
Feel the heat upon my skin
And I see fire (fire)
Uhhhhhhhhh
And I see fire
Burn auburn on the mountain side

Analysis

Sheeran’s song is based on Peter Jackson’s film “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” but there’s more to the song than just the description of fire. I may give away one or two spoilers about the book/film, so be aware if you haven’t yet read/seen it but intend to.

1) “Oh, misty eye of the mountain below / Keep careful watch of my brother’s souls / And should the sky be filled with fire and smoke / Keep watching over Durin’s sons”

I actually read this song as a sort of prayer. The “misty eye of the mountain below” is the “god” Sheeran addresses. The mountain has a heart (the Arkenstone), so why shouldn’t it have an eye, as well? Throughout The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, eyes are a fairly important symbol. Both Sauron and Smaug, the primary villains of the two tales, have noteable flame-colored eyes. The Lonely Mountain to which this song refers does not have a fiery eye, but a “misty” one. While the other eyes’ ability (Sauron’s in particular) to see all is a reason for fear, the singer of this song calls for the mountain’s eye to see all and draws hope from it. It’s interesting that Sheeran would have the words “misty” and “mountain” in the same line, since there is a range called Misty Mountains in Middle Earth, but if I recall correctly, that’s the range where Bilbo finds the ring, not where Smaug lives. I don’t really know why he says the eye of the mountain is “below,” so any thoughts on that are welcome.

Also, I believe this part of the song is from the perspective of Bard, the eventual leader of Lake-town. He asks the mountain to “keep careful watch of [his] brother’s souls,” his brothers being the people of Laketown. If Smaug poses a threat to them or the dwarves, Bard also hopes the mountain will “keep watching over Durin’s sons,” or protecting the dwarves. While Bard and Thorin have their disagreements, they’re both willing to do anything for the people they lead. Both Lake-town and the dwarves (plus one hobbit) unite against the fire.

2) “If this is to end in fire / Then we should all burn together / Watch the flames climb high into the night / Calling out ‘father,’ oh, stand by and we will / Watch the flames burn auburn on / The mountain side high”

As I said before, a major theme of this song is how trials prompt unity. If the fire comes for them, they will all “burn together.” The song is a sort of disheartening battle cry. They will “watch the flames,” bravely standing together in the face of certain death. The idea of them calling out “father” also implies that their hope centers around a god of some sort, reinforcing my belief that the song is a prayer, much like a psalm. The “auburn” color of the flames is also important, as it paints them as beautiful, albeit destructive. Auburn is a reddish-brown color. I think the color is normally too brown to associate with flames, but the film was so dark in lighting and mood, it works in this case. Sheeran may also be playing with the word a little bit, since it has the word “burn” in it. Before looking up the lyrics, I actually thought the line was “watch the flames burn on, burn on” rather than “burn auburn on.” In any case, it sounds beautiful, particularly when sung by Sheeran.

3) “And if we should die tonight / We should all die together / Raise a glass of wine for the last time / Calling out ‘father,’ oh, / Prepare as we will / Watch the flames burn auburn on / The mountain side”

Yet again there’s a sense of camaraderie in that they plan to “die together.” In drinking “a glass of wine for the last time,” I associate them with Jesus and his disciples at The Last Supper, where they ate before Jesus parted. This time, though, all of them prepare to die. Again they call out “father” and instruct him to “prepare,” perhaps meaning for him to prepare a place in the afterlife as they “watch the flames.”

4) “Desolation comes upon the sky”

Desolation is defined both as a state of complete destruction and a state of anguish, misery, or loneliness. The word refers to the destruction–both physical and emotional–Smaug can cause. It’s particularly powerful in this context because the film off which Sheeran based the lyrics is the second in the series, titled “The Desolation of Smaug.”

5) “Now I see fire / Inside the mountain / I see fire / Burning the trees / And I see fire / Hollowing souls / I see fire / Blood in the breeze / And I hope that you’ll remember me”

The fire of Smaug is visible “inside the mountain” and “burning the trees,” but the other two images are a little more difficult to decipher. At the end of the film, Smaug declares, “I am fire. I am death.” He isn’t just an instrument for fire; he is fire. The fire the singer sees could very well be Smaug himself. In burning everything and everyone, Smaug is “hollowing souls,” stripping the people of Lake-town of everything they hold dear, leaving them empty and without purpose. Both fire and blood are dark red and associated with death, so the “blood in the breeze” could be fire itself. It could also be actual blood; dragons have teeth, too, after all. Not only do the lyrics teach physical unity in hard times by standing together; they also teach emotional unity by encouraging people to hold onto the memory of those lost. As the speaker claims, “I hope that you’ll remember me.” In the end, you can only hope you’ve done something to save someone before passing.

6) “Oh, should my people fall then / Surely I’ll do the same / Confined in mountain halls / We got too close to the flame”

The responsibility of a leader over his people is particularly clear in these first two lines. Because this mentions being “confined in mountain halls,” I’m beginning to think the song is actually from Thorin’s perspective. That doesn’t make total sense to me, but it has to be true of this part, at least. In the mountain, the group had a couple close run-ins with Smaug, “the flame.” If flame represents hardship or potential destruction, there are other flames, too. The madness of greed to which Thorin succumbed also led them “too close” to destruction.

7) “And if the night is burning / I will cover my eyes / For if the dark returns then / My brothers will die / And as the sky is falling down / It crashed into this lonely town / And with that shadow upon the ground / I hear my people screaming out”

Honestly, I think the first four lines here contradict each other. Basically, he says there are flames all around, so he’ll cover his eyes because when the flames go away his brothers will die. Maybe I’m misreading something? Because it seems like the flames would kill his brothers, not the darkness. Perhaps he means a metaphorical darkness, as in something evil? The image of the “sky…falling down” when Smaug sweeps over Lake-town with his flames is beautifully put for something so horrific. I like how Sheeran calls “this” town “lonely,” since it subtly links it to The Lonely Mountain. The “shadow” to which he refers is the shadow of Smaug raking fire across the town, causing Bard’s people to begin “screaming out.” It’s interesting how something so horrifying can be described so beautifully. I think part of that is due to the fact that the song is based off a film in which the special effects and scenery are stunning, even in scenes of desolation.

I think I’ve made it fairly clear by now that I’m a fan of Ed Sheeran and Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The final movie of the Hobbit series was released on DVD recently, and while I believe the movies should have been condensed into one or two films rather than spread out over three, I suggest watching them. And if you’ve already seen them, I suggest watching them again!

Focus on the Lyrics Friday: Immortals

In celebration of the release of “Big Hero 6” on February 24 (and out of love for Fall Out Boy), this week’s post will look at the lyrics of FOB’s “Immortals.” The track played while the movie’s main character, Hiro, designed and tested “superpowered” outfits. Bear with me here; I’ll probably give away a couple things about the movie but it’s hard to analyze a song from a movie without giving a thing or two away.

I love FOB, but they’re not known for good annunciation, which makes it a little harder to focus on the lyrics. Still, I’d encourage FOB fans to look the words up; their lyrics are often as impressive and unique as their sound.


Lyrics

They say we are what we are
But we don’t have to be
I’m glad to hate you but I do it in the best way
I’ll be the watcher of the eternal flame
I’ll be the guard dog of all your fever dreams

I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass (glass, glass)
I try to picture me without you but I can’t
‘Cause we could be immortals, immortals
Just not for long, for long

If we meet forever now, you pull the blackout curtains down
Just not for long, for long
We could be immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Immortals

Sometimes the only payoff for having any faith
Is when it’s tested again and again everyday
I’m still comparing your past to my future
It might be over, but they’re not sutures

I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass (glass, glass)
I try to picture me without you but I can’t
‘Cause we could be immortals, immortals
Just not for long, for long

If we meet forever now, you pull the blackout curtains down
Just not for long, for long
We could be immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Immortals

If we meet forever now, pull the blackout curtains down
We could be immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Just not for long, for long
We could be immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Immor-immortals, immor-immortals
Immortals

Analysis

The band said the song was modeled on the concept of an underdog stepping into a bigger role, taking the hero role of the protagonist’s brother. Hiro’s actions and even what he says near the end of the film parallel the actions and sayings of Tadashi (the brother) at the beginning of the film. That meaning is made clearer in the lyrics.

1) “They say we are what we are / But we don’t have to be / I’m glad to hate you but I do it in the best way / I’ll be the watcher of the eternal flame / I’ll be the guard dog of all your fever dreams”

The first lines fit with the FOB’s meaning. The focus of the song is on underdogs who “don’t have to be” losers. The concept that people can be more than they are said to be is central to the film. I think the “you” of this song is *spoiler* Hiro’s dead brother but the third line confuses me. Perhaps Hiro resented his brother because he knew the dangers of doing what led to his death but still did it. The fourth line refers to an “eternal flame,” which is often a memorial (like the flame under the Arc de Triomphe) and the fifth line refers to “fever dreams,” or fever-induced nightmares. The idea of being a “watcher” or a “guard dog” is a heroic one. Hiro stepped up to a heroic position (pun intended) to avenge his brother’s death. More than that, Hiro preserves his brother’s memory by watching over Baymax, the machine his brother worked so hard to create.

2) “I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass (glass, glass) / I try to picture me without you but I can’t / ‘Cause we could be immortals, immortals / Just not for long, for long”

“The sand in the bottom half of the hourglass” is the time that has already passed and is waiting to pass again. Where Hiro’s brother has no time left, Hiro’s hourglass is going to continue getting flipped over. Moreover, the hourglass has two important parts: the top and the bottom half. These halves continually take one another’s roles. Where Tadashi played the heroic role, now Hiro must step up to become the hero. (On a side note, I’m pretty sure Hiro is meant to sound like Hero–the movie is called “Big Hero 6,” after all.) In the movie, Hiro has a hard time dealing with his brother’s death. In essence, he tries to “picture [himself] without [Tadashi] but [he] can’t.” Hiro learns to accept that Tadashi will be remembered through his friends and family (and Baymax), and in this way, Tadashi is immortalized. The idea with being immortal is also consistent with the scene the song plays in, where the group “suits up,” if you will. Still, no one can remain forever. The paradox of being immortal but “not for long.” Words, stories, and memories may immortalize a person in a way, but it’s not full immortality; everything that we know has an end.

3) “If we meet forever now, you pull the blackout curtains down”

This line confuses me. “Blackout curtains” are curtains designed to block out all light. The word “forever” links the line to the idea of immortality, but this line has a more ominous feel because it’s a forever without light. It could be a reference to death, since that’s the only time Hiro could “meet forever” with his dead brother. Or I could be misreading it. If you have any theories, please comment below.

4) “Sometimes the only payoff for having any faith / Is when it’s tested again and again everyday / I’m still comparing your past to my future / It might be over, but they’re not sutures”

The first lines are fairly straightforward; sometimes the only reward for believing in something is having your belief tested. In the testing of that belief, you become stronger, both in that belief and in your resilience. The third line is my favorite. At first I thought it meant Hiro was still expecting to have Tadashi in his future, but the word “comparing” suggests something else. Much of this song discusses how Hiro’s stepping up to take Tadashi’s place, in a way. He’s comparing what Tadashi has done to what he hopes to accomplish. In essence, he hopes he becomes just as great as his big brother. I think the “it” of the final line is “your past.” “Sutures” are stitches for a deep wound to help it heal. Tadashi’s life may be over, but it’s not stitched up. And as long as the person responsible for Tadashi’s life is around, Hiro believes he’ll have trouble healing from the grief. That’s why he tries to take Tadashi’s role in the first place; he wants to stitch up loose ends in Tadashi’s death and “stitch” himself up in the process. The reference to sutures is also fitting because baymax was created as a personal health care companion. As such, his job is to take care of wounds (internal and external), like by suturing a wound.

I love FOB. This isn’t the last song of theirs I’ll analyze, I guarantee.

In any case, I hope you picked up on my shameless plug for “Big Hero Six.” If the Oscars tell you anything, it’s an animation worth seeing.

Into the Woods, Into the Theatre

SPOILER ALERT: Please note that the content below may contain spoilers for the Disney production of “Into the Woods.”

I knew very little about the plot of “Into the Woods” before… well, before I went into “Into the Woods.” All I knew was that the musical involved quite a few fairy tales. Still, I suppose I knew more about it than others. (shoutout to my friend who did not know the film was a musical until she saw it)

Though I believe the Disney movie “Into the Woods” preserved the atmosphere of original fairy tales and wore its music beautifully, the characterization didn’t strike the right chord. (I mean the phrase figuratively, of course; the singers can really hit those notes.)

Let me take a moment first to fangirl about the fact that this movie actually tied closer to the Grimm’s tales than to the Disney adaptations. Cinderella’s birds helped her pick lentils from the ashes, Cinderella’s mother’s grave grew a tree, Cinderella lost her golden (not glass–golden) shoe in pitch, Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off parts of their feet, and Cinderella’s birds pecked out her stepsisters’ eyes. Rapunzel’s story was also true to the original Grimm tale in the reason for Rapunzel’s kidnapping and the sorceress-mother blinding the prince-lover. Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood were also true to their respective tales. Disney let the fairy tales keep their violence! (They didn’t actually show any of the violence–this is a PG movie, after all–but it was all stated clearly enough.)

To reiterate, a live action Disney fairy tale film did not draw from previous Disney fairy tale films. (Quite the shock, since the ABC TV series Once Upon a Time seems to only speak in Disney.)

The movie did not just draw from the original tales themselves; they also drew from the undercurrents of fairy tales. Some scholars believe the wolf’s devourment of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother is suggestive of a double rape, which certainly seems to be the case in “Into the Woods.” Though this PG-rated movie wouldn’t dare say so, it is suggested through subtleties; for example, the wolf’s introductory song is titled “Hello, Little Girl” and Red’s song after she is pulled from the wolf’s corpse is called “I Know Things Now.”

I did not like that they showed Red and her grandmother “in the wolf’s stomach” during the latter song, though. I know scholars draw similarities between Red in the wolf and Jonah in the whale, but in a film like “Into the Woods,” which highlights the realisticness of fairy tales, the image of Red and her grandmother inside the wolf seems only to highlight how unrealistic the story truly is. The scene felt more like Alice in Wonderland than Jonah in the Whale, though that may just be because of Johnny Depp’s presence. In any case, I felt the story and, thus, the morals, would have been more relatable if that scene were excluded.

I walked into the theatre expecting a cliche Disney fairy tale adaptation with music. Halfway through the movie, that’s what I got. But then something hits the fairy tale world and knocks down everything I expected.

I’ve never been so glad my expectations weren’t met.

Prince Charming’s later encounter with the Baker’s wife may only show a kiss, but what happens when the scene fades is obvious enough to the adults in the theatre. Both characters cheated on their spouses, and, though the Baker’s wife seems to regret it in her song “Moments in the Woods,” their interactions did not seem entirely in line with her character. Though she was characterized as a strong, brave woman, nearly all her actions were justified in her desperation to have a child with her husband, the baker. I understand that the woods is a magical setting which amplifies the characters’ more animalistic traits and that the prince was dazzlingly rich and charmingly deceptive, but I thought the baker’s wife was stronger than all that. I mean, would you be seduced to do what you know is wrong at these words?: “Right and wrong don’t matter in the woods, / Only feelings. / Let us meet the moment unblushed. / Life is often so unpleasant- / You must know that, as a peasant- / Best to take the moment present / As a present for the moment.” Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a prince pointing out my low social status would get me all hot and flustered, even if he did look like Chris Pine.

It’d be one thing if Cinderella’s Prince took her unwillingly, but it didn’t seem in character for her to cheat on her husband (who was my favorite character) AND her newborn child willingly.

Then again, maybe it’s just “something about the woods.”

While we’re on the subject of Cinderella’s Prince, what was wrong with Chris Pine? His big gestures would have been fine for a play, but this production of “Into the Woods” was actually a movie, and if his gestures had been more subtle, perhaps I would have no qualms with his part in the movie. As it stands, I’m disappointed in his casting. His singing was not as brilliant as the rest of the cast, nor was his acting up to their par.

I did enjoy Pine’s character in the song “Agony,” though. Watching the two princes brag about whose love was fairer and whose agony was worse was very realistic, and mirrors what I’ve seen of boys talking about girls. And the shirt-ripping scene was a nice touch.

While we’re on the subject of great songs, check this out–all my favorite characters meshed together in my favorite song(s).

Despite my distaste for the “inside the wolf” scene, the uncharacteristic adultery of the Baker’s wife, and Chris Pine’s dramatic acting, I do recommend the movie. If the songs and fairy tales aren’t enough, “Into the Woods” should draw you into the theatres with it’s strange cast–The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly, Young Victoria’s Queen Victoria, Doctor Who’s Craig Owens (you may remember him as the father of Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All), Pitch Perfect’s Beca, Les Miserables’ Gavroche, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow–all of whom can apparently sing.