Red Riding Hood

27 11 2011

(Originally posted on alternate site – June 16, 2011)
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Available on DVD as of  Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

Red Riding Hood opened in third place with $14 million at the box offices following its March 11 release, taking in $89.2 million internationally.

Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, a beautiful blonde girl with a scarlet cloak in the small, secretive village of Daggerhorn.
It is unclear exactly where the town lay or which period the story is set, these issues being just the first of several red flags raised by the progression of the film.

Quickly we learn that Daggerhorn has long been tormented by a mischievous and insatiable wolf. The residents make monthly (animal) sacrifices to appease the beast, but the unexpected death of Valerie’s sister heightens the chaos and fear. 

Upon the arrival of a holy man named Father Solomon, played by Gary Oldman, the villagers are informed that it is not a normal wild canine threatening them, but a werewolf: a sinister creature who is human among them by day, and a hairy fiend under the moonlight.

Mixed in with the mystery of the werewolf’s true identity, is Valerie’s search for love: torn between the wealthy Henry and the hardworking Peter. Eventually the two suitors team up to save Valerie from being the wolf’s next victim.

Red Riding Hood garnered an 11% rating on popular film site Rotten Tomatoes, with one of the more thoughtful comments being, “Amanda Seyfried is magnetic in RRH’s title role, but she’s let down by her uninspired leading men and a painfully cliched script.”

The films director, Catherine Hardwicke, is most known for her work with the first film installment of the Twilight franchise— but it must be noted that her resume is not all big budget, contrived teen dramas.
Hardwicke was at the helm of the darling — if drunk, high, pierced, cursing suburban teenagers can be “darling” — of Sundance in 2003, earning herself a directors award from the festival for the film Thirteen.

The thought crossed my mind several times that Hardwicke or her producers must be fans of M. Night Shyamalan, as the first hour of Red Riding Hood had strikingly similar characters and plot developments to his 2004 film The Village.

Aestetically Red Riding Hood misses the opportunity to immerse itself in the traditions and foundations of the era from which the classic tale of Red Riding Hood comes.  The set design took the concept of a mill town too far, with bare wood and straw being the only natural textures. Barns, cabins, a watch tower and church- all wood- sit inside a dense forrest. Oh, the redundancy. 
The ‘days of yore’ apparently had no color, nor did Hardwicke’s team venture to create one that was visually rich or stimulating.

Honestly, having had an eye on Seyfried since her big-screen debut in Mean Girls (2004), I really wanted to like this movie. I was prepared to put my anti-Twilight feelings aside for 100 minutes, and I gave this film a real shot… Until the wolf appeared before Valerie, opened his snarling jaws, and t a l k e d .

A fearsome monster that chats up his would-be victim?  The werewolf is represented as an oversized Schipperke. By oversized, I mean this wolf was the size of a Clydesdale.

This is just too ridiculous to accept. Red Riding Hood  was billed as a twisted retelling of a classic fairytale, and it does use elements of the legend cleverly, but there are just too many holes in the story to fully invest in Hardwicke’s journey.

I appreciated the few twists taken before the predictable conclusion, but I had largely given up on Daggerhorn and the fate of it’s residents before the wolf defeated.

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2 responses

28 11 2011
Elektrische Zahnbuerste

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18 05 2013
Victoria

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since if like to read it afterward my contacts will
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