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Red Riding Hood

A movie directed by Catherine Hardwicke

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Review: ‘Red Riding Hood' Lost in the Woods

  • Mar 24, 2011
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How do you take a short fairy tale warning kids not to talk to strangers and stretch it into a feature film? In Red Riding Hood‘s case, not very successfully.

All the classic elements are in there: the girl, the red cloak, the woods, the grandmother – and of course, the wolf. Yet this time the wolf is a werewolf who terrorizes a small medieval village, nestled deep in the woods, and the girl, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is considerably older. In fact, she’s a beautiful young lady who is in love with a woodcutter named Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but has been promised to the town’s richest eligible bachelor, Henry (Max Irons), by her mother (Virginia Madsen), who wants a better life for her. Val’s dad (Billy Burke) is a woodcutter, too, and an alcoholic, so the mom has her reasons, obviously. Valerie and Peter aren’t too happy about it and plan to run off – when tragedy strikes [cue ominous music].

You see, the town has an uneasy truce with this werewolf, offering small animals to the beast when the moon is full so he won’t kill anyone in the town. But when Valerie’s sister is found slashed apart, all bets are seemingly off – as are Valerie and Peter’s plans. The local minister (Lucas Haas) decides its time to bring in the big guns and calls for Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a known werewolf hunter. When Solomon arrives, he informs the town that this wolf takes human form during its off times – and that it most likely lives among them as they speak. Gasp!

Then the story becomes a sort of whodunit, mixed with the love triangle between Val, Peter and Henry. Up to a certain point, you have to stick it out because you want to find out who is the big, bad wolf, but Red Riding Hood does drag on. It’s not really the actors fault; they are just not given much to do. I mean, you couldn’t get a better Red Riding Hood than Seyfried, whose naturally big, expressive eyes do the trick in most of her scenes. The boys Fernandez and Irons (who is the son of British actors Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack) are eye candy as well, newcomers to the big screen who should find some luck there. But for the older actors, there are many wasted opportunities. Oldman seems bored, playing Solomon as a cross between Van Helsing and Vincent Price, while Julie Christie makes brief appearances as the kooky, new-agey Grandmother, handing out words of wisdom, and then fading away.

Although Red Riding Hood could have benefited with an R-rating, you can’t fault the look of the film, either. Those props go to director Catherine Hardwicke, who has learned a few things since directing  Twilight – but maybe not quite enough. While the script is ultimately the film’s downfall, Hardwicke also has a problem with pacing. She taps into her young lovers’ yearnings, but some scenes go on and on, especially the weird celebratory scene in which the whole town is dancing drunkenly in the streets after they think they killed the wolf. Like I said, if the film had an R rating was able to escalate the sex and violence, this could be an entirely different review. But I guess, in order to keep the younger audiences, Little Red Riding Hood can’t really be, er, devoured.

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March 24, 2011
Great write-up, Kit! I was curious about this film because I, too, thought Seyfried would be a perfect Red Riding Hood but, I do know that she makes questionable role choices (see Jennifer's Body). It's interesting that Lukas Haas comes out of the woodwork for this film. Poor Gary Oldman and Julie Christie...I think that he would've had much more fun with an R rating. Thanks for sharing :)
More Red Riding Hood (2011) reviews
review by . March 14, 2011
I remember hearing Catherine Hardwicke's name for the first time three years ago.  Even though Lords of Dogtown was a hit and Thirteen was one of those films that caught attention in the festival circuit, it was not until she was attached to Twilight that she actually became a "director to watch".  I will confess I was one of those "twi-hards" that stood in line for hours waiting to see what Hardwicke had done to a story that had a growing fan base.  Truth …
review by . March 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Twilight without Vampires
RED RIDING HOOD   Written by David Johnson   Directed by Catherine Hardwicke   Starring Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandes, Max Irons, Gary Oldman and Julie Christie       Filmed in British Columbia, RED RIDING HOOD opens on stunning aerial shots gliding through grand mountains, surrounded by thousands of fir trees, pristine lakes and feathery cloud formations.  The shots distinctly reminded me of another supernatural “thriller” …
review by . March 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         In the hands of director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson, Red Riding Hood has been transformed from a simple morality play into a supernatural teen romance. In Hardwicke’s case, I hardly found this surprising, given her previous directorial credit, Twilight. In Johnson’s case, however, I found myself taken aback. This is the same man who penned Orphan, the surprisingly good horror film from 2009 about a manipulative …
review by . March 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Red Riding Hood' 'Two Jews On Film' Mr. Wolf Comes To Visit. (Video)
   'Red Riding Hood' is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight Part One)  The film stars Amanda Seyfried as Valerie, aka Red Riding Hood.       Once upon a long time ago in a desolate mountain village. somewhere in England, lives Valerie, a beautiful girl with big red lips and a peaches and cream complexion.  Valerie spends her days roaming around the majestic snow covered forests surrounding the place she calls home.  She isn't looking …
Quick Tip by . April 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Im really glad i didnt pay to see this but what was i to expect after the horror that was twilight! The idea behins this movie was great, and the commercial looked good but i was let down big time. This movie gets so boring through the middle part that i almost turned it off, but i guess it wasnt a total loss because the somewhat suprising ending was almost worth the wait. Look for it in a few months in a bargin bin near you!
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Kit Bowen ()
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Member Since: Mar 24, 2011
Last Login: Mar 24, 2011 06:11 AM UTC
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