September 15, 2012

Red Riding Hood (2011)

"Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family's displeasure.

With the final part of "The Twilight Saga" getting nearer every day, I thought I'd better have a look at some of the spin-offs before reviewing "Breaking Dawn Part 1" and, eventually, "Breaking Dawn Part 2". I know that "Red Riding Hood" came out over a year ago, but I had no great interest in watching it until earlier today.

Despite being directed by Catherine Hardwicke and having a kind of "Twilight"-style love triangle, boys baring their chests, and, of course, Billy Burke playing another father, this wasn't even half as good as "Twilight". It didn't even enough cringeworthy moments for haters to poke fun at. "Red Riding Hood" was just bland.

Even though it was beautifully filmed and the village in the woods started off looking a little bit like the one in Neil Jordan's "The Company of Wolves" (1984), it simply didn't have the same attention to detail. The costumes were nice, but modern American accents never work well in European fairytales for some reason.

Obviously sharing the same fairytale at the heart of the story would cause anyone who had seen "The Company of Wolves" to notice several similarities, but, with "Red Riding Hood" really being just another PG-13 rated werewolf story, it wasn't nearly as interesting as its slightly more adult predecessor. With hardly any werewolf action, I found it to be quite a struggle to stay awake through.

I know a lot of people would only have watched this because they fancy Amanda Seyfried. I can assure you that that she wasn't the attraction for me since I think she looks like a blonde frog with her bulgy eyes, tiny chin and constantly bowed head which makes her look up all the time. I suppose she's pretty in an odd way, but she does nothing for me. I didn't like her in "Jennifer's Body" (2009), and I don't even remember her from "In Time" (2011). As Valerie in "Red Riding Hood", she was hardly my idea of the famous fairytale character who I've always thought of as being a lot younger than a twenty-six year old pretending to be a teenager.

I can't really say that Amanda Seyfried did a bad job in the movie as the script undoubtedly killed any desire to act for everyone involved. Like most of these "period" fantasies, it was just another chance to play dress-up, say a few lines, and take the paycheck for doing so.

Only Gary Oldman tried to do something with his part, but he came across as inconsistent with it. I'm sure he realised exactly what a mess he'd got himself into by accepting the role of a werewolf-hunter in a movie meant for little kids and just didn't know what to do for the best other than play it straight. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to make the character more unhinged, but the words weren't there for him to play with.

The two "boys" in the love triangle with Valerie, Shiloh Fernandez as Peter and Max Irons as Henry, could really only be described as "Dull and Duller". I have to give Jeremy Irons credit though for giving his son such a great porn star name should he ever realise that real acting isn't exactly his forte. Joking aside, Shiloh Fernandez was slightly more interesting than Jacob or Edward from "Twilight", but there wasn't much in it.

It was nice to see Virginia Madsen from "Candyman" (1992) in her small role as Valerie's mother. She was easily the best looking woman in this movie, and I can't believe that she's over fifty now! Time flies, doesn't it?

It's not even worth more than just mentioning Lukas Haas as Father Auguste or Julie Christie as Valerie's grandmother because they were barely on screen long enough to register their presence. I think Julie Christie only had three lines.

There was nothing exciting in "Red Riding Hood" whatsoever. The CGI werewolf looked really good and fitted into its surroundings extremely well, but there simply weren't enough interactions with it. Even when it killed a few villagers, there was only the aftermath to see and not even that much blood at the scene of the crimes. This was hardly a horror movie.

The mystery of the werewolf's identity was revealed in more of a "Scooby Doo" way than something you could ever guess at from clues in the story so "Red Riding Hood" failed to deliver a basket of goodies there either.

"Red Riding Hood" failed as a romance, a horror movie, a mystery or even any kind of decent retelling of the fairytale. I wish I hadn't wasted my time watching it now, but at least I have the pleasure of hurling it into "The Dungeon".

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