Red Riding Hood, the modern retelling of the classic fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood”, directed by Catherine Hardwicke (director of the Twilight) and starring several cast members that are recognizable either by name or by face. (Including, but not limited to Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie, and more). With this cast and a fun story, one might expect and hope for an overall interesting movie. Unfortunately, Red Riding Hood might just pull the wool of the eyes of many moviegoers that choose to watch.
It is unfortunate that director Catherine Hardwicke choose to stick so close to Twilight when directing Red Riding Hood. As opposed to paying tribute to the original fairytale, there lingers a much more greater tribute to the highly hormonal teenage fantasy of Twilight instead. A lot in this movie will seem all too familiar to those that have read or watched the Twilight stories: from cinematography, to bad acting, to “Bella” choosing between “Team Jacob” or “Team Edward”, to a big cgi werewolf, to “Edward” and “Jacob” (Henry and Peter) fighting to be the better protector of “Bella” (Valerie). Unfortunately, Hardwicke does not venture too far off from her past success, which does no justice to this classic tale. Red Riding Hood receives no due justice to become its own film, but will always remain in the shadows of Twilight since it emulates it so much.
Other than copying Twilight in so many unoriginal ways, Red Riding Hood also fails in predictability and caste-type characters in the film. One may truly find themselves bored with the attitude of “been there-seen that” as they watch the girl who is infatuated with breaking the rules, the begrudged and obsessive hunter of the beast, the pining kiss-up who just ends up in the way, the forbidden love interest, the family of secrets, and the guess-who-done-it roll out of the story. While Yours Truly deciphered who the wolf was very early on, it must be said that Red Riding Hood does do an excellent job at trying to derail any prediction thoughts the audience might have until the reveal of the wolf’s true identity is close at hand. (Making for a fun cat-and-mouse game). But overall, too many clues and ideas lead to the answer all too soon. I must also mention, that although the cinematography seems “borrowed,” it is still rather enjoyable. The countryside, the atmosphere, the general look and feel of the movie adds so much to the film in and of itself. Hardwicke’s use of color contributes greatly to the tale.
Too bad that the few minor things that work for this film do not outweigh the horrors it contains. The acting is sub-par (although Amanda Seyfried does an excellent job of doing what Kristen Stewart does so well: stand there wide-eyed and slack-jawed, staring!) The rest of the cast though, too, greatly disappointed. With a great assembled cast that included members that performed in prominent roles from movies such as Mean Girls, The Dark Knight, Twilight, Sideways, Inception, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Doctor Zhivago the director and writer grossly underused their talent. I’m actually disappointed in the cast for being in this film that should just have just gone to dvd. The romance in the film plays a very distant second fiddle to the main story, but brings almost nothing to the tale at all. It has no bearing on the film and acts a more of a filler than a contributor to the tale. Red Riding Hood would have been better served by bringing a greater backstory of the wolf throughout generations into the mix instead.
Overall, Red Riding Hood overpromises and underperforms. Not much is given as far as tribute is concerned to the original tale. Even the “what big eyes you have” line was misplaced and misused. Listen up, Hollywood, if you are going to retell an old tale that everyone knows, then stick close to the original. Not even Gary Oldman can pull this one from the depths of despair!
Do not be fooled…Red Riding Hood is a “wolf in grandma’s clothing!” 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
–TheSp1der’s Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars for “Red Riding Hood”