Monday, 18 April 2011

126: Review - Red Riding Hood

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Red Riding Hood
18 April 2011. Location: Cinema

Oh, I've only gone and done it again, haven't I? You'd think that after three Twilight films and I Am Number Four, I'd remember that I'm not a fourteen year old girl. FFS.

Catherine Hardwicke's fairytale reboot lumbers to cinemas with all the subtlety you'd expect from a film aimed a core-demographic of Claire's Accessories customers. In some places over-acted, and in others just horribly scripted, this was never going to have (and I can't believe I'm going to say this) the depth of Twilight.

Now I'm not one for second-guessing movie plots. The whole "oh, I knew from the start that he was the killer" thing just pisses me off and I prefer to see the film through the eyes of the characters, so each reveal has its proper impact. But even so, the red-herrings as to the identity of the werewolf are slammed down so ham-fistedly, that when an obvious tell is given during the village celebration scene, it almost seems subtle, and will probably be lost on a lot of the audience. Enough plot-clues have been laid down before that point that it instantly becomes clear who the wolf is, and further red-herrings just look clumsier by comparison.
(Here be spoilers: It's the guy at the party with the sheep's-head-costume on. Literally a wolf in sheep's clothing. Yes, THAT obvious)

Other points:

• In one five minute sequence, I thought I saw an homage to the Empire Strikes Back scene in Yoda's hut, then an Evil Dead homage with the first-person-demon-cam and skewed-zoom-shots of stuffed animal heads on the hut wall, and then even a reference to the Attack of the Clones scene where Anakin is confessing to killing the Tusken Raiders and throwing his tools around in a strop. Add this on to the obvious references to Sleepy Hollow and Witchfinder General, and I had to stop looking for comparisons or I'd have started crying in the cinema. Oh, I'm sure they were all coincidences.

• Just as in Amanda Seyfried's successful outing Mamma Mia!, some shots in this have been filmed on location and some on a soundstage. The visual difference between these is painfully obvious, and when they're intercut in the same scene, it's headache-inducing. Thankfully (I guess), most of Red Riding Hood's dialogue scenes were shot in the studio, and the result is that the outdoor scenes just don't look at all real.

• I liked the casting of Virginia Madsen and Julie Christie as the older generations of Valerie's family. It was visually convincing. Madsen's still looking pretty hot. Jeez, in a couple of shots, even Julie Christie's still looking great.

Bottom line: There's a lot of potential here, but I feel it's been wasted on trying to get a 12A certificate. Once you get past the obvious flaws, it's actually not that bad. But you will have to forget you've seen/read any other werewolf fiction if you want to be engaged at all. For the younger audience who haven't seen a lot of supernatural horror, this is a great place to start. But come back when you're ready and I'll show you Dog Soldiers...

It wants to be a fairytale, but comes off more like a pantomime.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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