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First off I have to say that the cinematography and costuming in Red Riding Hood was amazing and the surreal visuals used in various scenes were stunning. The set designers that built the village that the characters live in did an excellent job in creating a balance of of stark isolation and fairytale look to it. None of which, in my opinion was enough to lift this movie out of it’s dull and overuses storytelling.
In the official press release for Red Riding Hood, we are told that Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry ( Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. Red Riding Hood was written by David Johnson and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who also directed Twilight.
This connection might explain why this re-imagining of the Red Riding Hood story follows the same predicable teen angst romantic triangle as the Twilight movies do. Unfortunately for this movie, it doesn’t have a built in audience from a series of successful novels. Given the fact that no one knew the characters in advance, Red Riding Hood might have fared better if it had been more appealing to a wider range of viewers by focusing on the legend of the werewolf and hunting it rather than focusing on a juvenile romance.
Red Riding Hood did have some bright spots aside from the deep red of Valerie’s hooded cape.
Gary Oldman was delightfully evil and over-the-top in his performance as Father Solomon the werewolf hunting priest. Julie Christie as Grandmother played the character with the right amount of dignity and humor to make the character come to life and interesting. Michael Shanks as Adrien Lazar ran rings around the younger male actors in the movie in terms of being a strong screen presence and creating a character who truly was sexy.
Warner Brothers has created a site called www.redridinghoodlovetriangle.com where fans of the movie can go and vote on which of the two young men that were vying for Valerie’s (Amanda Seyfried) attention that you would like to have seen her end up with. They also would like reviewers to give their choice as well.
Unfortunately I didn’t think any of these young actors had enough on screen chemistry and presence to create any kind of passion. Also why does any young girl have to choose just one guy to date or end up with or even define her life by having to choose some guy. No matter what the tale being told, Red Riding Hood is a strong female character and why not focus on her and showing that young girls have more to look forward to then just which guy to fall in love with. I choose that Valerie should choose to build her own future and be something more than just the wife of whomever.
The DVD/Blu-ray, Digital Download copy is being released as the Alternate Cut to the version of Red Riding Hood shown in theaters. Once more the special features that make it alternate are only available on the Blu_ray copy. The alternate version of some scenes are more sexual than what was shown in theaters and I’m not sure that makes them more interesting or not, but does show a more adult side to the characters.
All in All I think Red Riding Hood would have benefited from less focus on trying to follow in the footsteps of Twilight and had just focused on a strong woman battling a monster. Young girls need better role models than Barbie dolls in red capes.
Grade = C+
Learn more about Red Riding Hood at the official Facebook Page