Thursday, 19 January 2012

'Red Riding Hood' Film Review

For the past few years and the following year, fairytale remakes/reboots/adaptations/modernisations have been very popular in film, and with 'Red Riding Hood', this was one of those rare opportunities to really create something beautiful.

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) have always been a bit of a rebel. Running around in the woods with lover Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), killing rabbits, resisting her impending arranged marriage to Henry (Max Irons)... but when her sister gets killed by the werewolf, and is told by famed werewolf killer Solomon (Gary Oldman) that it is someone from their village, suspicions arise as to who it is.

As the blood moon rises, the werewolf approaches Valerie and tells her it wants her. Will she give herself up to save the village? Who could it be? Her mysterious grandmother? Her dark lover Peter? Her fiance she doesn't love? The hunt begins...

This intriguing game of cat and mouse and of mystery is the background to this potentially superb movie. From the trailer, it is also shot beautifully- the colours, the direction... and this is reflected in the movie. I loved the snow scenes and the exaggerated red tones- the cinematography is beautiful.

Some of you may recognise this art direction as being very similar to the Twilight films as it is by the same director. Similarly, the complex love triangle and the confused girl in the middle is also reminiscent of the popular franchise.

However, perhaps that is where this film goes wrong. Instead of being an artistic yet thrilling movie, it aims too low as a teen flick- the not so impressive script, the tacky special effects (seriously, that werewolf was disturbingly fake) and the teen romance. Not here for that!

The film could've thrived on suspense- not revealing the appearance of  the wolf at all perhaps, just hints, here and there... which the film sort of started to do with it pointing the finger at many of the characters, but not enough; the focus was drawn far too much on the romance and not so much on the mystery.

That said, I was very intrigued to find out who the wolf actually was and the ending was half a pleasant one. It was a good ending in terms of resolving the problems at hand, yet also creating a dilema (which I love) in a cliffhanger, romantic, sad sort of way, but what I was displeased with was the execution of this. It could've been melachonic, yet it (due to being made for a teen audience) became again slightly wasted and made much less cinematic.
Amanda Seyfried- Valerie/ Red
Gary Oldman- Soloman
Shiloh Fernandez- Peter
Max Irons- Henry

Also stars Billy Burke, Lukas Haas and Julie Christie.

Amanda Seyfried was a brilliant choice to play as Red- the pale skin, the red lips, the big eyes... and she looked phenomenal in that red cape. Male leads Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons were clearly cast as the Twilight parallels- one dark, broody, the other sensible, handsome. They do nothing to showcase their acting talents, but they do have a pretty face.

Gary Oldman was disturbingly annoying- and I just wanted him gone from the moment he set foot in the village.

Simply put, 'Red Riding Hood' was a wasted opportunity. Despite the beautiful imagery of the film, the plot, the style, the script lacks depth and focus. Whilst it could've been an artistic yet dark thriller (much like what 'Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters will be when it is released in 2013), this fails even as a teen flick. That said, Twilight fans might like this. Perhaps.

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