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Red Riding Hood [Blu-ray]
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I'd rather start that way because I refuse to become one of those critics who savages somebody else's film because it doesn't suit my tastes. I'm not among this film's target audience, and chances are, if you've fallen in love more than once or watched more than seven horror films, you aren't, either. This film reaches out for people who enjoy uncomplicated romances and have a very low scare threshold.
Director Catherine Hardwicke knows her young, wide-eyed audience, and delivers what they expect from a romantic fantasy with horror overtones. Pretty, willful Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) embodies 21st Century America in medieval Bavaria. She loves Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), a woodcutter who broods around the forest like an unemployed Robert Pattinson impersonator. But Valerie's mom (Virginia Madsen) thinks she'd enjoy a better life with the prosperous but uninspiring blacksmith, Henry (Max Irons).
But a werewolf besieges their village. When the wolf slaughters Valerie's sister, village life unstitches. Unscrupulous Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) starts hunting witches, while Valerie discovers her uncanny connection to the monster. Is Peter or Henry the wolf? Or gentle Father Auguste (Lukas Haas), simpleton Claude (Cole Heppell), or Valerie's reclusive grandmother (Julie Christie)?Read more ›
Into this mix comes a werewolf hunter named Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) who is ruthless in his methods to find and destroy the werewolf. There are limitless possibilities as to who the werewolf could be and Solomon becomes more of a curse to the village than the werewolf does. The filmmakers created a great look for the village and the film was well cast. Gary Oldman is perfect as Solomon, and it is refreshing to see him play a villain again. Amanda Seyfried is nicely cast as the lead character as are her love interests. Virginia Madsen was also excellent as Valerie's mother, who has her own dark secret. It was also good to see Julie Christie in a film as Valerie's somewhat sinister grandmother.
The movie teeters toward a B-movie romance (one wonders if Valerie will suddenly declare her love for Henry as he proves himself very noble-hearted) but the mystery and horror of the werewolf kept my interest in the story. Although Red Riding Hood may seem like "Twilight for werewolves," I liked the story and the overall feel of mystery. Red Riding Hood is a film that I would like to see again maybe only for the marvelous visual realization of the village, grandma's, lonely but cozy cottage and the over-the-top performance of Gary Oldman.
I was surprised that Gary Oldman took this role. I would also like to know how much they paid him to do so. He has had far better roles than this that I can't believe he lowered himself to do such a sub-par film. His talents so go beyond a film like this. The sets have a Tim Burton look to them, but not quite as over-the-top. The actors are fair, but then again this wasn't meant to be a drama but a thriller, although, I was never really "thrilled." There is a sub-plot which misleads you as to who the werewolf really is, Unfortunately, by the time we find out, we don't care anymore than you really care about how the movie ends.
Be that as it may, it is probably worth a watch, but don't expect any surprises. They had an opportunity to do something really good with this but the writing simply falls short. This could have been a dark, brooding, even haunting film that could have made you jump out of your skin, but it is little more than eye candy and I only say that because of the sets. The Three Little Pigs would have lent itself to a more nightmarish spectacle. If anything, I feel for all the actors who had such weak material to work with, especially Gary Oldman, and I hope to see him in something better than this fluff soon.
We still love you Gary.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good movie, the picture wasn't good quality and it kept freezing and we have good wifiPublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Well done with superb acting. The filmography is gorgeous with misty forests and intriguing shadows, just lovely. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Adrian McMullan
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