Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Riding Hood

A lot of reviews have billed this as a 'Twilight' twihard, due to the fact that werewolves are involved and it's directed by Catherine Hardwick. The Twilight series is much better, and more entertaining. Now that's a sentence I never thought I'd type. Oh, where to begin? This film is set in medieval times, in a highly stylised fairy tale type setting, chocolate box houses, vivid outfits, dirty dancing oh yes, and rap music, which they had a lot of in those days. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young lady, with a naughty side, who is in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez, who looks a lot like my friend Bob), a bit of a wild card and not her family's choice. She is betrothed to Henry (Max Irons)who is richer but not for her. The village gives regular sacrifices (Babe), to a werewolf to keep him from their door. Valerie's Mum (Virginia Madsden) and scary Grandma (Julie Christie, still beautiful, not much visible work done) have darks pasts but let on little. The werewolf starts a spate of killings, and Gary Oldman as Father Solomon is brought in to help. He brings his two daughters, who we promptly never see again, and a wardrobe of delightful purple robes to the scenario. The werewolf then talks to Valerie it reveals that they know each other, what are the odds? Val is left in a dilemma whether to go with her true love Peter, or to stay and help the village. Then there's the issue of finding out the identity of the hungry wolf, all during a blood moon, so there's the risk if you're bitten that you yourself will turn into one. Sounds convoluted and contrived? Well it is. A dismal film it has to be said. I like fantasy, but it has to be well written. The plot and atmosphere is reminiscent of the vastly superior 'The Village', even down to a suspicious village idiot, although in 'The Village' that idiot was the elegant Adrian Brody, in this film I think he's played by Ron Weasly's little brother. The cast are sound, but so underused it's the script writer that should be sacrifised. It's refreshing to see Gary Oldman, and he does his best to hamm it up, but given his terrible lines, he didn't have much to work with. Although I do love a man in majestic purple and he wears it exceptionally well. Amanda Seyfried is very pretty. The problem is that she looks too angelic to have a devil sitting on her shoulder and though she's not a bad actress, at this stage doesn't have the acting experience to make you believe otherwise. The younger cast are obviously there to showcase attractive young guns. Max Irons incidentally, is the son of Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack, he looks more like his Mum. But instead of projecting moody and mysterious, they all deliver stilted, wooden lines and look gormless. The film is produced by 'Appian Way' which is Leonardo DiCaprio's production company. One of the greatest actors of our generation, this man has such a great sense of judgement when it comes to his own film roles, it's suprising that he chose to produce this. Maybe it was a full moon when he read the script. A couple of points of interest, the part of Father Auguste, a pointless character it has to be said, is played by Lukas Haas, the little boy in Witness. I think Witness may have been his finest hour judging by the acting here. The fact that he is Leonardo's mate wouldn't have anything to do with it would it? Nothing wrong with giving a mate a break. Valerie's father is played by Billy Burke who is the father in the Twilight series as well. Badly edited to boot, there is not much to like about this movie, apart from the poor old wolf. RED RIDING HOOD: Oh Grandma, what a big yawn you have. Someone put a silver bullet in me! 3/10

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