Genre: Romance, Thriller
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie
Synopsis: It’s basically a retarded but sexed-up version of the fairy tale we all know and love.
Little girl in a red cape goes into the forest to visit her grandmother. She gets to the house and finds that her grandmother has been eaten by a wolf. Wold gets killed. The end. It’s a story that we’ve all grown up with and one that we all know off by heart. It’s a simple story, for sure, and that’s probably why there have not been many attempts to adapt the story for cinema. I mean, how can you stretch the story of Red Riding Hood into 90 minutes? Catherine Hardwicke certainly had an idea…one that maybe wasn’t entirely obvious. Her plan was basically to turn little red riding hood into a ho.
Let’s examine this idea for the moment. In my honest opinion, it’s not THAT bad. As I mentioned in my review for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a lot of fun could be had with adapting traditional fairy tales for modern audiences. They would have to be dark though. That’s where Hansel and Gretel failed. Red Riding Hood is an improvement as it deals with the theme of female sexuality; something that works well with the original tale. Where the film fails, however, is with the execution.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Hardwicke did direct Twilight and this film has a similar feel. It’s too teen friendly with its hunks and budding ingénue. A proper adaptation would be about prostitution with a serial killer thrown into the mix. Instead we get a film about a werewolf and a girl being torn between two guys who performs a pseudo-lesbian dance to seduce one of them. Seriously girls, that’s the oldest trick in the book and doing it in medieval dress is in no way sexy. You need to watch Showgirls and take some lessons from Nomi Malone.
What is surprising is that this film has a very good cast. It’s got Julie Christie in it who, may I remind you, has an Oscar. Gary Oldman is also a brilliant actor. I even think Amanda Seyfried is a good actress. I’ve seen Lovelace and I was impressed with her performance in that. I think the problem with her is that she picks terrible roles and this film’s central character (who is horribly named Valerie) is another role that is beneath her talent.
All in all, I found this film to be wholly underwhelming. It’s like watching a mediocre slutty Sleepy Hollow. It has some great performers, a fresh theme, and even some good style but it lacks the bite and the shock-value that it sorely needs. This film doesn’t really have much to keep your attention if you’re over the age of 15.
- Max Irons is adorable and he is well buff in The Riot Club.
- Some beautiful scenery.
- Good theme.
- Red Riding Hood’s mum is hysterical. The film is supposed to be set in the middle ages but with all that makeup it looks like the mother just came from the club.
- Poor execution.
- Inappropriate use of the pseudo-lesbian dance.
- Creepy incest moment.
- Boring characters.
I’m still waiting on someone to come along and bowl me over with a fresh and exciting fairy tale adaptation. I hear that they’re making a sequel to Hansel and Gretel so it looks like we won’t be getting one for quite some time. Shit.