With having no familiarity with the stage version of this musical, you will find no comparisons here.
The bulk of the enjoyment of this film lies within the first 2 acts. It’s paced swiftly, it’s really funny, and the cast is fun to watch. It may have been short on surprises and alarming conflicts, but it’s enjoyable.
While ending on a satisfying note at the end of the 2nd act with a false victory, you begin thinking to yourself that it was almost too easy–there has to be more. There is.
This is where the film goes down hill a little. Although providing us with a lot more drama, the conflict doesn’t really match up with the first part of the movie.
If the characters weren’t already not set in stone in the first 2/3s of the film, it becomes confirmed in the 3rd act. Heading that opinion is the fact that the Baker’s wife (who is 1/2 of the main protagonist) and Cinderella’s husband have an affair with each other–a tidbit that Cinderella doesn’t seem all that phased with. We grow to like their characters, only to have it all thrown out the window in one scene towards the end of the movie. Although many may think that frolicking around with someone other than your spouse is humorous, it tends to make me uncomfortable.
In fact, the whole film sort of revolves around and makes light of materialism and superficiality. Every character’s motivation is driven by directly obtaining materialistic goods–except for the Baker, who just has to obtain materialistic goods in order for he and his wife to have a child. His wife, however, seems to enjoy the hunt more than the ultimate ends. These nuances are subliminal, but evident enough to question the film’s motives.
Then something finally happens that leads me to believe that this film has some sort of conscience. The remaining characters discuss the idea of not actually killing the giant. But then they decided to do so anyway, when in fact the giants were never in the wrong at all. It would be like if some kid robbed my house and I went chasing after him while the town helped him kill me and my wife. Something’s wrong with that.
After a bunch of characters die, you get to see how the film is probably going to conclude. And although I can appreciate the intent of the last 3 minutes of this movie, it is very jarringly uneven from the first half. The 3rd act just seems thrown together and scatterbrained, when it should have been more purposeful.
Another note: the Baker never finds out that Rapunzel is his sister. Weird.