Red Riding Hood (Blu-ray)
If you thought it was a bad idea to take simple children’s story like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, turn it into a feature length movie and surround it with a teen-angst love story, you were right. It not only was a bad idea, but giving it to the woman that kicked the Twilight saga off to such an amateurish start proved to be an even worse idea as her inability to get anything out of her actors was proven once again in RED RIDING HOOD. Not that she had much to work with, given how cliché-ridden and overly sappy the script was, but audiences deserve more than what they received with this poorly directed, acted and scripted film.
The film is about a small town on the edge of the dark forest that lives in fear of a wolf. To please the wolf, they offer animal sacrifices and that seems to quell the urges of the wolf for nearly 20 years, when Valerie’s (Amanda Seyfried) sister is murdered. This prompts the town to call in some backup in the form of Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), who enlightens the camp that they shouldn’t be hunting wolves, but rather a werewolf. This kicks the movie into a CLUE-set-in-a-forest type film where the audience has to guess who the big bad wolf is.
Yes, there’s a grandmother and yes, there’s scenes of Valerie walking through the forest alone with a red hooded cape. They even have a dream sequence where Valerie recites the famous “my, what big teeth you have” to her grandmother. Cheesiness aside, that homage to the original tale didn’t distract from what was transpiring onscreen. No, the bad acting and horrible script proved to be distraction enough.
Caught up in the whodunit tale of the werewolf is the love triangle between Valerie, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and Max (Henry Lazar). Think of this triangle like Bella, Edward and Jacob, but even worse, if that’s possible. The acting and dialogue between any of these three made my skin crawl. It wasn’t necessarily that the actors delivered them poorly (although they did), it was more that the editing/directing repeatedly set them up for failure. The scene I look to as proof is between Peter and Max while they’re standing on the balcony, talking about rescuing Valerie from Father Solomon. The exchange is poor, awkward and the camera lingers on both actors for far too long. It’s an amateurish mistake and one that a director with five films under her belt shouldn’t be making.
It’s easy to say that this is a film that should never have been made because there wasn’t enough material to make it a feature film. But I think that’s letting the filmmakers off too easy. If they can make a movie based on a theme park ride enjoyable, then it’s possible to make an enjoyable film about a simple children’s fairytale. But there was too much energy wasted on trying to make this another Twilight film and not enough time trying to develop a decent story with decent characters. RED RIDING HOOD is an all around poor film due to the lazy efforts of everyone involved.
Video (1080p): Crisp and clean even though about half of the film was shot in the dark.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): The sound was great and the surround sound was used effectively.
Secrets Behind the Red Hood: This is a Picture-in-Picture video commentary that really offered no exciting insight into the film. However, Seyfried gets a little riled up and the tension between her and Catherine Hardwicke is a nice drama-filled distraction from the lack of information.
Behind the Story (34:57): Broken into seven featurettes that includes: “The Reinvention of Red Riding Hood”, “Red’s Men”, “Making of the Score”, “Before the Fur”, “Casting Tapes”, “Rehearsals” and “Red Riding Hood in 73 Seconds”.
Deleted Scenes (3:58): These were rightfully cut but if you can’t get enough of the film I suppose they are worth a watch.
Gag Reel (2:59): Just a typical gag reel, are these ever funny?
Music Videos: Fever Ray’s “The Wolf” and “Just a Fragment of You” from Anthony Gonzalez and Brian Reitzell.