Hungry Like The Wolf!
Red Riding Hood (2011) Director: Catherine Hardwicke Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie Rating: PG-13 for scary wolves and violence
Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale. For all the youngsters out there, fairy tales were stories parents read to entertain their children before TV, video games and other cool stuff came along to do that for them. Because Hollywood ran out of original ideas many years ago (I don’t remember the exact date when this happened, but I know it was a Tuesday) the movie guys have decided to remake fairy tales into big budget films, because if it’s one thing the movie going public wants to see is a movie based on a story they heard hundreds of times and grew to despise as kids.
Red Riding Hood is the first of these re-imagined fairy tales to hit the multiplex. Stepping into the red hood is Amanda Seyfried, a sexy ingénue whose tiny body and big head makes her look like a Bratz doll minus the whorish eye makeup and street cred.
Seyfried plays Valerie, a fair maiden living in the Eastern European village of Daggerhorn, which is located somewhere deep in the snow covered soundstages of Vancouver.
Valerie loves a local woodsman Peter (a wooden Shiloh Fernandez) but her parents have already set her up to marry Henry, (a woodener Max Irons) the wealthy blacksmith’s son, because in this village marrying a blacksmith is like bagging someone from the family that owns Walmart. Ka-ching! Major coinage!
Complicating this medieval love triangle is a giant werewolf who visits the village every now and then to chow down on livestock and any stray human caught hanging around outside after midnight, which I’m sure will greatly affect the business of Daggerhorn’s 24 hour mini mart when such an establishment is invented.
Things go from bad to worse when werewolf hunting priest Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) arrives with his heavily armed entourage determined to kill the beast and make Daggerhorn safe so the villagers can continue pumping money into the extremely lucrative blacksmithing industry.
When Valerie encounters the werewolf during an attack on the village, she learns that she and the wolf can talk to each other, which convinces Father Solomon she is a witch and must be sacrificed to the wolf, and that thrills the heck out of the local girls who have been waiting for years for the perfect excuse to whack the hottest chick in medieval Eastern Europe.
Can our blonde heroine deduce the identity of the giant brown eyed talking wolf (is it the brown eyed village minster? her brown eyed father? her brown eyed grandmother? everyone else in the village except her, since she’s the only weirdo in town without brown eyes) before her two hunky suitors and everyone else she knows becomes a midnight snack? And more importantly, how does she keep her red cloak completely smudge free while everyone else looks like they work in a coal mine?
Unfortunately, director Catherine Hardwicke does an excellent job keeping the excitement to a bare minimum and the suspense at the same level you experience while waiting in front of the microwave for your Lean Cuisine to heat up. By the way, you have got to try the Chicken Poblano from their Market Collection. It’s heaven in a microwavable pouch.
To sum up, while I believe someone should tell Gary Oldman he can say no to a project every now and then, I give him credit for being the only cast member in Red Riding Hood – a film set in Eastern Europe by the way – to attempt some kind of Eastern European accent. Kudos to you Gary for trying to make lemonade with this 100 minute lemon.