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Red Riding Hood: Not a Folktale for Kids
Nothing like my Childhood Memory
I first read the story of Red Riding Hood when I was about seven and it had all sweet, innocent graphic images that are typical of a children's story tale. Slowly as we grow up and begin to see the reality, we realize the world is not the same place we used to see as a child.This episode somehow managed to show me the same story tale in a much darker tone without really altering my childhood memory and making me perceive it more like a different story altogether. The movie is serious stuff and a good work for that matter given the fact that you from your childhood does not have too strong happy memories with it.
The Folklore as it Goes
The story of red riding hood goes back to as long as the 10th Century and has many alternative versions of which the children's story tale became the most popular which goes like follows. Little girl Valerie lives with her grandmother and goes to pluck some apples before her granny warns her not to talk to strangers and come straight back home. Valerie then meets a disguised wolf who convinces her to give away the address of her Grandmother. He then goes to her house, eats her Grandmother, disguises himself as her Grandmother and then eats her too and falls asleep. A woodcutter comes and kills the Wolf and rescues Valerie and her Granny alive out of the wolf and fills the wolf with stones so he cannot move. Moral of the story: Do not trust strangers and listen to your elders. All true.
But we humans never like the simplicity and what with so much time, the tale is twisted in every way possible to make it appealable to our dark hearts. In some cases, Valerie is never rescued, in some cases she eats her Grandmother because the wolf asks so. She makes out with the wolf.Should I go on? Use your imagination.
The movie tries its best to cover as many little elements of the story and its alternate versions as possible in the time frame.
The story in the movie is as follows: Valerie lives with her family and is in love with her childhood buddy Henry who loves her too but is not rich enough for her because of which she has to marry Peter. Having cleared the romance element, every month on full moon, the villagers keep their finest livestock as bait for the werewolf (not a wolf for obvious reasons) and the werewolf manages to keep truce by not attacking anyone for 20 years. The story starts when the werewolf kills Valerie's sister near a Blood Moon, a special Full Moon when moon and Mars are in a particular alignment and when the wolf's bite instead of being fatal is contaminous i.e. it turns you into a werewolf. Enter Soloman, a fierce priest who has his life motive to hunt down witches and werewolves. Rest of the story can be guesswork if you can figure out who the werewolf is. Hint: He can talk to Valerie and Spoiler: Valerie is declared a witch because of it.
I must acknowledge I was pleasantly surprised to see Catherine Hardwicke(Director) NOT making "Twilight" of the movie. Though I am not a big fan of Twilight book either, I still felt it deserved way better movie than that. This movie intends to be gloomy and mature and manages to be. Thanks to Amanda Seyfried, the character of Red Riding Hood surely has a bright career in Adult movie industry for sure(No offence to whoever is sentimental about the character, all in good humor.) She definitely acts good enough and I have to say nothing about the looks. All the other actors play their tit bits pretty well.
The movie as I said earlier has included lots of facets of the alternative versions of the stories, some of which are(Spoiler Alert): =================================================================
Including a woodcutter, use of apples, metamorphosis, the famous quotes like: Grandmother you have such big eyes and well quite possibly Cannibalism.
I like it when a director really tries to give as much justice as possible to a story.
I just did not understand few things. Whats with the spikes for the lead actors(This was not Hunger Games) and the medieval black guys as Knights? Again,no offence, but it simply looks forced(Like they say in Not Another Teen Movie: Damn!).
And ya, just to be honest, I wouldn't have liked the movie had I known before I saw it, that she has directed Twilight.Sorry to be preposterous.
The movie quite possibly bumped at the box office due to maybe somewhere along the crowd who goes to see it is also the same crowd that saw Tangled. Happy childhood memories I tell you. But the movie does manage to touch the underbelly of RRH character neatly as possible(pun intended). The character also will appeal fairly to the unspoken taboo sensuality that comes with such female-centric folktale characters. Could the movie have been better if it was made more jolly? Perhaps. But it wouldn't have been this movie then. It gives the kind of feeling we have after eating a dark chocolate after we are done with lots of sweet ones. The movie is good. Watch it with an open mind. It is the Batman of Catherine Hardwicke.