HBO’s premiere movie this weekend was this Spring’s “Red Riding Hood”, starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen and Shiloh Fernandez.
“Red Riding Hood” is a full length movie, based on the classic fairy tale. The fairy tale, as everyone knows, isn’t all that long… it’s pretty much three scenes tops, right? Red Riding Hood walking to Grandma’s and meeting the Wolf, the Wolf racing ahead to Grandma’s before her, and then the climactic “What big eyes you have” and the rescue by the Huntsman.
As such, they had to expand the mythology a little in order to flesh out a feature-length film.
I’m certain a thousand reviewers have made a wide variety of plays off of the classic quote, but I can’t help myself… I have to say, “My, what a silly movie you have!”
“Red Riding Hood” revolves around the village of “Daggerhorn”. Throughout the film, you can pretty much tell that “Daggerhorn” is a set. The obviousness of it winds up diminishing the feel of the film… it winds up feeling as if you’re watching a stage play. Except minus the live entertainment aspect, the good script, and any quality acting.
“Daggerhorn” has been tormented for decades by a lineage of enormous, bear-sized wolves. Midway through the film, with the arrival of Gary Oldman’s Spanish inquisitor style priest character, the villagers are finally informed that what they’re dealing with is a werewolf. Thus the Wolf could be any one of them. Their neighbor or spouse or friend.
There’s a mild level of possibility in that high concept, with the villagers suspecting one another of being a lycanthrope, but my “go to analogy” of comparing things like this to Scooby Doo mysteries is a bit unfair. In this case, unfair to Scooby Doo. Oldman arrives on scene and begins the inquisition, torturing people and threatening sacrifices, etc etc. Meanwhile, the movies parades potential suspects in front of you as if figuring out “Who the wolf is” is anything that you care about.
There’s also a tween movie level love triangle thrown in, with Seyfried in love with one boy, but promised in marriage to another, but there’s not enough there to really “sink your teeth into” there, either. LOL
This movie felt like exactly what it is. A stretchjob. They took a source material that was probably a 30 minute film if faithfully retold, stretched it into a 1 hr 40 min runtime, made it on the cheap, and put it out, hoping for the tweens to latch onto it.
All in all, perhaps there was a decent excuse to make a film here, but they needed a much better level of execution to bring it out. The sets are cheesy, the CGI is poor, and the script is weak.
Not a lot of entertainment value to be had, but at least I was never insulted by it…