Into the Woods

Walt Disney Pictures

Everybody loves musicals, right? Yes. Let’s go ahead and say that everybody loves musicals. But there is a caveat to this fact I’ve just gone ahead and made up. A musical is only warm and lovable if you explicitly know you’re watching a musical. Say you put on what you think is an ordinary film — let’s go with Blade Runner – and out of nowhere Rutger Hauer belts out an “Attack ships! On fire off the shoulder of Oriiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooon!” while a chorus line of Harrison Ford replicants shimmy across the background. That’s sure to put a lot of people off (although for the record, I would pay any sum of money to witness such a thing).

Yet Into the Woods has just gone and played that same maneuver: the “singing robot surprise.” The first trailer for Rob Marshall‘s seemingly-ordinary fairy tale film has finally arrived, and it’s stuffed full of all sorts of fantasy teases. A girl in a red hood skips merrily into a wild and extremely unsafe-looking forest. A boy climbs several stories beanstalk without any visible safety gear. Also there’s a witch, a wolf-thing, a Rapunzel and a big mess of Maleficent quick-growing thorns.

The only thing missing is the one thing that’s kind of crucial to Into the Woods: vocalized musical tones. Check out this strange, song-free trailer below.

Obviously, there are a few clues that Into the Woods is a musical. For one, it’s Into the Woods, which was originally a 1986 Stephen Sondheim musical that glued a few chunks of Grimm’s Fairy Tales onto the story of a baker, his wife and their struggle to conceive a baby. The trailer also tethers Into the Woods to a couple of noteworthy musicals. Marshall is now “the director of Chicago,” and producer Marc Platt is “the producer of Wicked.” Then there’s Anna Kendrick, best known for Pitch Perfect, who spends her brief trailer time as a Cinderella teetering on the edge of a showstopping musical number.

It might seem a little facetious to assume people won’t get that Into the Woods isn’t a musical after witnessing all those clues that Into the Woods is clearly a musical, but let’s be honest here: there are people who won’t get that Into the Woods is a musical. And those people will, most likely, not have a pleasant reaction to the sudden, unexpected appearance of song.

As a demonstration, please watch a scene from this perfectly ordinary, Law & Order-style police procedural.

All the feelings that clip inspires (feelings like “oh no, he’s no no STOP PLEASE”) are not things Disney would want associated with Into the Woods. And even in a worst case scenario, Into the Woods won’t come close to something like Cop Rock‘s legendarily brainless musical choices. It simply isn’t possible. The second that podium spun around for a bitchin’ organ solo, Cop Rock became god-king of all terribleness on Earth.

But why would you even risk it? Please, Disney, include a song or two in the next trailer for Into the Woods. For your own sake. Also ours, because it’d be nice to hear what the music sounds like.

Into the Woods hits theaters on December 25th.


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