Into The Woods

Featured In Issue 196, April/May 2015

WSR Score4
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Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Rob Marshall
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Into The Woods is a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales you thought you knew. Iconic characters—such as Cinderella (Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Crawford), the Wolf (Depp), Jack (Huttlestone) and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel (Mauzy)—find their fates intertwined with a humble baker and his wife, whose longing to have a child sends them on a quest to reverse a witch's (Streep) curse. Based on the musical. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Rob Marshall and Producer John DeLuca; the never-before-seen Stephen Sondheim original song She'll Be Back sung by Meryl Streep (HD 04:48); the featurettes There's Something About The Woods (HD 13:23) and The Cast As Good As Gold (HD 10:10); the featurette Deeper Into The Woods segmented into four parts: From Stage To Screen (HD 08:33), The Magic Of The Woods (HD 07:24), Designing The Woods (HD 07:07), and The Costumes Of The Woods (HD 06:53); music and lyrics access to the musical song segments with optional sing-along lyrics (HD 15:47); five golden (Easter) eggs; upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed using the Arri Alexa XT digital camera system. The imagery is beautifully cinematic with a warm and rich color palette whose primaries are subdued. Hues are earthy in appearance and natural without exaggeration. Fleshtones are warmly hued as well. Contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is limited in detail to close-ups, as backgrounds are softly focused or out of focus, with delineation that is revealing or concealing. While the picture displays wonderful cinematic qualities, it appears to be filtered and thus not as sharp and clear as could be expected. Still, the imagery is beautifully presented and sure to please. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is a musical odyssey, with wonderful songs and orchestral music. Instrumental definition is excellent. The orchestra is presented wide and deep with a panoramic soundstage that aggressively extends to the four surround channels. Bass extension is natural, with the occasional sound effect dramatically exciting the .1 LFE channel. Of course, the story is told through songs sung by the cast. The recording quality is excellent, with good fidelity. Even atmospherics are effectively dimensional and nuanced, while sound effects can be dynamic and directionalized throughout the soundfield, both enhancing the experience. The deep, extended bass in the giant scenes is really powerful, as are the thunder effects, extending to sub-25 Hz frequencies. The transition from dialogue to song is virtually seamless, without distraction, with excellent spatial integration. This is a strong musical experience, with beautiful music and Broadway songs that is wonderfully engaging. (Gary Reber)