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The No-Longer-Little Red Riding Hood
Transforming a Children's Tale to an Adult Movie
The recent years have seen how a number of tales and characters originally meant for children have been adapted in the silver screen. While a good number of these continues to target children as their main audience, a number have been transformed to incorporate themes which cannot be understood by the young and the innocent. These films which incorporate adult themes in making a new movie out of what could have previously been characters for children include in their list Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Red Riding Hood.
While Christopher Nolan's rebooted Batman series went philosophical and required a good deal of thinking to understand its key themes, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's version of the Red Riding Hood explored and painted the realities of life in a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) way, requiring less thinking from the viewer. Much unlike Nolan's films which sounded for children but which children failed to understand, Hardwicke's movie warned that the movie is not really for children by removing the word "little"". Still, some still watched the movie thinking that it is much like one of the earliest stories only to find out that is is not. Here are some of the themes explored by Hardwicke's crew which were portrayed in the recently-released film:
Fear. Fear of the unknown has led people to believe many things, to act differently and to exhaust all means necessary to escape what they feared.
Friendship and Betrayal. The strength of friendship is best tested under pressure. In the movie, we see how some have been forced to betray others to save their own skin and the skin of their loved ones. The film was also able to show how, in spite of betrayals and opinion differences, friendships remain strong, causing them to support one another and to stand for one another.
Corruption. People in authority are oftentimes tempted to do more than serving their constituents. It is not uncommon for them to abuse the power given to them and do so in different means, getting different things from those asking for their help: cash, bribery, and sexual advances (and sexual harassment).
Love. Perhaps the most common theme of most movies, romance and love. The film is able to show how love brings courage and how love knows how to forgive.
Pride and Courage. It is one thing to stand up against the horrors haunting the society. It is another thing to stand up against the abuses of those who have been called to serve the people by destroying these horrors, but ended up creating a new kind of horror. In either case, courage is mustered not out of nothing, but either out of love or out of pride.
Suspecting and Doubt. In a confusing scenario, it is not easy to place one's trust entirely in the people he/she deals with. It is possible that people will learn to doubt and suspect those close to them, breaking friendships and creating more confusion. The production crew was also cunning enough to make the movie viewers suspect an albeit innocent character by combining the proper plot and character elements (costumes, colors and lighting).
Hope. Traditionalists argue that evil is inherent in certain creatures such as werewolves, witches, ogres and the like. People who understand culture, behavior and upbringing, on the other hand, hope that even these have an inherent goodness in them.
The themes that surfaced in the film are more than those indicated in the partial list of themes indicated above. With the good portrayal of the movie's actors and actresses, along with the proper use of lighting, sounds and music, and the wisdom of the director, the themes could better be understood by watching the movie itself. After all, I could not elaborate on these things without spoiling much of what have made the movie good.