Sun's Review of Red Riding Hood
Red Riding Hood(2011)
First and foremost, it is not the same Little Red Riding Hood that you all remember from your childhood. This is a retelling of the story that had tremendous potential that never quite lived up to what it could have been.
This version of Red Riding Hood has Amanda Seyfried playing Valerie (Red Riding Hood), living in a far off village that is plagued by the threat of the Big Bad Wolf that returns each full moon to claim the villages sacrifice of their best livestock.
Valerie is in love with her childhood friend, who has grown up to be a woodsmen, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but her parents have arranged for her to marry Henry (Max Irons) who is from a wealthy family. Valerie's sister (who actually does love Henry) finds out of the pending marriage, she is led out to a field during a full moon by a letter she thinks is from Henry and is killed by the Wolf (there is a reason for this but I won't spoil the movie for you). The killing of Valerie's sister spawns the village to set out to kill the Wolf. During the expedition to kill the Wolf, Henry's father is killed. The villagers return from their hunt thinking that they were successful, returning with the head of a common grey wolf.
Solomon (Gary Oldman), a holy man, arrives in the village at the request of Father Auguste (Lukas Haas) to help rid them of their Wolf problem. Solomon explains that he also once fought off a Wolf in his town that turned out to be his wife. Whatever. The movie goes on and on from there...for about hour and forty minutes.I won't spoil the movie for you here. Go ahead and see if it you want to know what happens next.
Amanda Seyfried really fit into the role of Red Riding Hood. She just sort of had that look, with her big doe eyes and long blond hair. But that was about the best of the acting. The rest of the cast was dreadful! What happened to you Gary Oldman (I loved you in The Fifth Element)? Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons has Valeries love interests were completely boring.
Now, this film had a lot of potential for me. I really like this kind of film, the retelling of a story with a different twist. Thought it might have a bit of blood and guts with some good special effects. Nope! Oh...and not to mention that fact that two of my favorites were in it. Amanda Seyfried one of my current favorites and just plain sexy and very easy on the eyes along with a girl from my 80's/90's past, Virginia Madsen (as Valeries Mother). Even these two couldn't save it for me.
Oh...and what the heck was with the dance scene in the middle of the movie as the village turns out to celebrate what they thought was the killing of the wolf. Completely unnecessary and overall out of place. Again, whatever...
Solomon's arrival in town was also almost laughable. He arrives in a carriage with his two children (who's mother he killed) and their nanny, with armed guards (looks like they tried to please the diversity crowd with these guys) trailed by a guy riding on top of a steel elephant (built by the Romans) pulled by horses. It plays a role in the story a little later but it just seemed silly and out of place. Oh...and what was with the guard that held the crossbow on the villagers the entire time? Solomon arrived in the village because he was asked to be there. Oh, and Soloman brought along a great prop to explain the "Blood Moon". Whatever...
Then you have the "silly" references with names and sayings. For example, Valerie's love in the movie is Peter (think Peter and the Wolf). You have the comical Three Little Pigs during the dance scene (I'll huff and puff and blow your house down). And then you have the dream sequence where Valerie wakes up in bed with her grandmother and utters (What big eyes you have...what big ears you have...what big teeth you have). Funny that you have Amanda Seyfried saying "What big eye's you have" to anyone (not picking on her as I love her look, especially her eye's).
The good? The costuming was good. It was visually a very pretty movie. It was filmed well and the locations were stunning. Yep, I think that is about all that I can come up with.
The dialog was bad. The acting (outside of Seyfried) was bad. The soundtrack was bad...yep, a bad movie.
HOT GIRL ALERT - Amanda Seyfried is an absolute knockout and walks thru this movie is a long frock for most of it. Some potential during a roll in the hay with Peter but nothing every really comes of it. If you want to see much more of Amanda, check out Chloe (a great movie IMHO!). Some of the other village girls are pretty hot too, specifically Kacey Rohl (playing Prudence) and Carmen Lavigne (playing Rose). A bit of "dirty dancing" during the dance scene.
So...3 out of 10 for me...A pretty bad movie that was I give a 3 to only because Amanda Seyfried walked thru it for almost 2 hours. Not a complete waste of time but I think I should have seen Battle: Los Angeles. Nothing in Red Riding Hood that needs to be seen on the big screen. Skip it until it arrives on DVD.