The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 31, 2012

Film shows ‘Red Riding Hood’ can’t be made seriously

VIDEO VIPER with ROBERT LEBZELTER


Star Beacon

—  If you are trying to make a movie about Red Riding Hood and target it toward the “Twilight” crowd, the 2011 “Red Riding Hood” is a slightly noble effort.

Alas, it is doomed to failure. That’s because “Red Riding Hood” is a children’s story!

No matter in what kind of scene you place “Why Grandma, what big eyes you have,” it’s just gonna sound stupid!
The wolf in this film, a sort of animated, bizarre looking creature, is really a werewolf. Yes, a werewolf in wolf’s clothing.
And it telepathically communicated with Amanda Weyfried, who plays Valerie in the film. Bet you always thought Red Riding Hood’s name was really Red, like Red Skelton. Nope, Valerie, thank you.
However, in an animated tale a few years earlier, Red’s real name is Claire.
Now Valerie (this film’s Red) lives on the edge of the woods where this nasty werewolf / wolf lived. Villagers in this sort-of storybook world regularly leave out their best livestock to be taken by the wolf.
But every few years a villager meets his or her maker at the teeth of the wolf. As the movie starts, Claire, er, I mean Valerie, learns her beloved sister is the wolf’s latest victim.
Valerie plans to run away with her true love, played by a brooding Shiloh Fernandez. Her parents want her to marry wealthy Henry, played by Max Irons.
Gary Oldman plays a minister who says he will kill the dreaded beast. In a scene stolen from “Jaws,” he proclaims a wolf captured by the villagers isn’t the killer wolf.
And the slimey Oldman character is right. Otherwise, the movie would have ended earlier and viewers could get on with their lives. Not a bad prospect, actually.
Julie Christie, who starred in the epic “Dr. Zhivago” in the 1960s, probably has the best role in this picture, as the grandmother.
Now early on we are given clues that lead us to believe Granny is actually the wolf. People who have been near the wolf discover a certain smell. That same smell can be found around Grandma.
Hmmmmm. Again I say, hmmmmmmm.
And it is the great Christie involved in the utterly stupid “what big eyes” scene, which I will tell you, is a dream sequence.
The second most ridiculous scene is the wolf speaking telepathically with big Red.
Catherine Hardwicke directed, from a story by David Johnson. I am not certain who had the idea of converting a fairytale into yet another “Twilight” clone.
I actually admired the attempt. There is just no way this would work! Who was this film targeted for? If young children, it was too gory. After all, we see Oldman and his hand and they aren’t connected.
But would teens, young adults or even boomers decide to spend $20 on tickets and another $20 on popcorn and pop for “Red Riding Hood?” Especially a movie as, well, bland and boring as this.
What next, “The Three Little Pigs The Motion Picture?”
“Hansel and Gretel on the Food Channel?”
I only watched Red, or Val, when the film made Cinemax. Heck, I’m already paying for it.
If you do decide to watch it, you might want to be doing something else at the time, like your taxes or will or while indexing your DVD’s. Make certain this movie isn’t in your collection.