Movie Review: "Red Riding Hood" (2011)
Grimm fairy tales have always been ripe for adaptation, but unfortunately, the people behind "Red Riding Hood" seemed to have overlooked this. Instead of making this adaptation actually scary and violent, they copped-out and went the other route with the whole story. There's many things that are wrong with "Red Riding Hood", but you don't really have to watch the whole movie to realize this or let alone watch any of the trailers, all you have to know is who directed this turd. And to answer that question, it's Catherine Hardwicke. Yes, the same lady behind the dreadful "Twilight". So now I ask you, keeping in mind who the director is and what she is capable of, isn't it painfully obvious what direction this movie is bound to take?
1. Get to the Choppa!
So we open the movie to a long helicopter sequence of scenery that sets up the setting of the story, along with some cheesy "Twilight"-like musical score to accompany it. Right before the title of the movie appeared on screen, I actually thought it was going to say "Twilight: The Prequel". So we're introduced to our main character Valerie (aka the Red Riding Hood girl), who is a little girl at this point, who wants to get it on with her best friend Peter. They flirt and play in the forest and there's talk of catching a rabbit, etc. To cut a long story short, she comes back to her nameless village in the middle of nowhere only to discover that the wolf has killed her sister.
This is the opening of the movie. Have we forgotten that first impressions count? So what impression does this movie give after the first 10 minutes? A PG-13 fairy tale with a teenage love story and a wolf thrown into it. Now doesn't that all sound way too familiar? I guess people can't make good werewolf movies nowadays. This movie should be retitled "The Wolfman 2" because both movies are just as bad as each other.
2. Kill the Suspense, Why Don't You?
It's not even 10 minutes into the movie and already, there's mention of the werewolf? Oh, he's been hunting villagers for generations, you say? Wow, I'm on the edge of my seat now. It's a werewolf, I already know what to expect, thanks a lot, Ms. Hardwicke. The funny thing is these villagers know what they are up against, they know where it hides, yet they allowed it to continue to terrorize them for generation upon generation. I guess they don't mind a scary werewolf running around killing the townspeople.
So the whole movie is basically a "who is the werewolf" scheme. So they quarantine the village and try to find out who it is. This is not the "Red Riding Hood" adaptation one is to expect. The characters should not know that the beast is a werewolf until later on in the movie, they shouldn't even know what a werewolf is. Imagine watching the movie "Alien" and having the fully-grown alien revealed to you in the first 10 minutes. It's the same principle. But I wouldn't expect Catherine Hardwicke and Ridley Scott to share the same brain.
Not to mention, the stupid creature is done in stupid CGI. Wow, now I'm REALLY on the edge of my seat. The CGI werewolf in "Red Riding Hood" is about as scary as the CGI Scooby-Doo. I mean why not just make the whole movie in animation? They were already too lazy to come up with interesting characters and a worthwhile script, might as well save themselves the trouble of making an actual movie.
Oh and the werewolf can talk too? What is this, another sequel to "Cats & Dogs"? Say, is Puss-N-Boots in this movie? If the werewolf can talk, why can't it do tricks like roll over and play dead as well? Hmm, maybe it could write a better script too.
3. Ding Dong, the Werewolf's Dead!
This is the all-definitive scene of this film. This is where the entire movie takes its biggest nosedive, it is the point of no return. This scene happens approximately 30 minutes into the movie, at the end of the first act. So the village people think they have finally killed the werewolf but Gary Oldman shows up to inform them that what they've killed is nothing more than just a regular wolf and not the actual "werewolf" which can be a man or a woman.
Nevertheless, the villagers want to think otherwise, that the worst is over and they decide to throw a big celebration. This party scene consists of... dare I say... rock music, inappropriate sexual dancing, and a lady with a plant on her head. Even the dialogue in this scene sounds so modernized and horrible (not saying that the rest of the movie's dialogue is any better), I wouldn't be surprised if the director's cut has a quick second of Valerie popping out a cell phone and talking on it.
4. "Twilight" of the "Red Riding Hood"
This is the core issue that really hurt this movie. During the opening titles of this film, you know right away that this is no intention to adapt a classic Grimm fairy tale, but really a "Twilight" clone set a long time ago. It's a fairy tale setting with a "Twilight" love story and an unscary PG-13 monster running around. Everything from the modernized dialogue, the delivery, the CGI werewolf, down to the Robert Patterson lookalike.
This adaptation should have been a dark and violent Grimm fairy tale. Why did they even bother putting a love story in this movie? There's no romance in the original tale. Just focus on the girl with the red cape, a creepy forest setting, and a scary monster that doesn't reveal itself too early on. Can you imagine if they looked to "The Evil Dead" as inspiration for this movie? It would have been magnificent. Why "The Evil Dead" you ask? Because it also takes place in a forest environment where an evil entity/creature lurks. But no, the stupid teenage girls need something to quench their thirst as they wait for the conclusions to stupid "Twilight".
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- Red Riding Hood (2011) - IMDb
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. With Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke.