Red Riding Hood Reviews
Mythology has once again been reinvented cashing in on familiarity rather than creativity by rearing its ugly head in the shape of a wolf.
In a secluded mountain village, ethereally beautiful young towns maiden Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is torn between two suitors: her choice is a humble childhood-sweetheart woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthier and far less adventurous Henry (Max Irons).
Valerie and Peter plan to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the big bad werewolf that has prowled the dark forest surrounding their village for years.
Until now, the denizens of this picturesque village have appeased the marauding creature in an uneasy truce, offering a monthly animal sacrifice to keep him abstained from taking human life. But under a blood red moon, the wolf ups the stakes by breaking this treaty and killing unprovoked.
The village minister (Lukas Haas) calls on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) for aid and guidance however impatient and hungry for revenge, the townsfolk gather their pitchforks and scythes and head into the forest to 'kill the beast'.
As expected, they return home not only without the head of the beast but also weighed down by more human loss. Arriving shortly after with his own band of warriors and a large metal elephant torture device for extracting information, Father Solomon explains that taking a human form by day the wolf is hidden among them.
Turning families and friends on each other, Father Soloman warns that under the blood moon, 'a man bitten, is a man damned' and anyone attacked by the beast will face judgement.
After and intriguing and very intimate encounter with the werewolf where she is able to distinguish its intent, Valerie fears that the animal could in fact be someone she loves. Unable to keep her distinctly lupine tendencies unnoticed, Valerie is accused of witchery and Father Solomon's holy man act drops to show him as little more than a mercenary. Offering Valarie as the ultimate sacrifice can father Solomon flush out the beast? Can Peter or Henry save her? Which red herring will it be?
Taking extreme creative licence, this Brothers Grimm original fairytale has now been cross-pollinated to yet another Catherine Hardwick twi-hard melodrama fantasy thriller. With a medieval setting but contemporary vibe, look and sound, a preposterous love triangle, soap opera theatrics, dreadful dialogue and ludicrously comatose acting nothing about this strenuous project comes together.
Even as far as the production design, which is striking due to Director Hardwick's extensive experience, the film doesn't fit. Too Glossy, Synthetic and sterile the story's over emphasised fanciful roots clash with unseasonal colours and evocatively overextended scapes, even acclaimed Australian cinematographer Mandy Walker can't contain the misguided concepts.
The Verdict: Red Ridding Hood is not as romantic as Twilight nor as threatening, and considering they were 'vegetarian' vampires that's really saying something. Oh Red Ridding hood; my, what big pretensions you have....
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 01/04/2011
Positives: Good looking guys to distract you from the horrible plot.
Negatives: Twilight continues.