Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Going Totally Vamp with Alan Trehern

Welcome back to MARCH MOVIE MADNESS at Ben's Movie Reviews! I'm probably going to tone down the ridiculous for a second to talk about a recent release starring Amanda Seyfried that definitely addresses the major issue of werewolves and fairy tales. It's refreshing to see a movie about supernatural beings, y'know? I mean, I can't remember the last time a movie about shape-shifting man-beasts was released. But onto the review!

Red Riding Hood
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman

Let me first say that the ending and ensuing events of this movie were kind of ruined for me by Lindy West on Vince Mancini's FROTCAST 39 (1h20m mark). Her recollection of the film was pretty hilarious, and I thank her for it. Why? Because I feel I would have been REALLY pissed by the ending in this movie. Also, West's comical review prepared me for the overall content, so I didn't take this film too seriously. And that led me to enjoy it; of course I had nothing better to do on a Friday night.

The story takes place in some mythical fairy tale kingdom (possibly one of the 10 Kingdoms or a section of the Homelands), and a small village (Daggerthorn?) is haunted by a man-eating wolf. They present sacrifices monthly to the monster (goats, pigs, kegs of ale), but one day the wolf breaks the contract by killing Valerie's (Seyfried) sister. Wolf-carthyism (TM) ensues. A "witch hunt", if you will.

Secrets abound in this movie, as do torrid love affairs with "other side of the tracks" lovers. The dialogue, however, is pretty cheesy. Actually, this whole movie is REALLY cheesy. I face-palmed quite a lot at the "romantic" back and forth between Valerie and her two suitors. Come on guys, there's a solid gross of good-looking girls in this town, why waste your energy on emo-driven Valerie and her clearly radical, outside-the-box red-colored hoodie?

Speaking of Valerie, Seyfried's performance was competent and well delivered, even though her character came off as indecisive and soft-spoken. We see a lot of movies where male leads are thrown into events where they are the "chosen one", or something like that. I like the idea of a "chosen woman" driven film, especially when the actress can actually pull it off. Nice job, Amanda. I'll see you soon at the Indiana Jones 5/Terminator 5 pre-production meeting. Call me!

She's never calling.

Valerie is "Little Red Riding Hood", if you've never looked at the movie poster. She has a family which consists of a dead sister, a mom who slept with her fiancé's father, a father who drinks and gets humped by guys in costumes, and a wood cutter boyfriend who never does slice open the wolf to save the grandma... Historical inaccuracy, much?

Both the wood cutter and the fiancé look alike, so it was hard for me to decipher who Valerie was talking to at any given moment. I'm being facetious, of course; I'm not an idiot. **phones start ringing off the hook** Plus, both male suitors had fabulous, "jazz hands" hair styles. Where do you get hair gel product in the 1300s? Pig blubber? Tree sap? The urea sweat of Twilight fans? Haha, I'm not sorry.

"Wait! Which one are you again?"

Father Soloman (Oldman) is the one-dimensional, monster killing, witch defeating and werewolf slaughtering priest who comes to town and motivates the citizens to turn against each other. He has no problem sticking people in elephant-shaped ovens, cuttings off hands of ex-wives or needlessly ending the life of the town's mentally handicapped jester. If I don't see a Soloman vs. Blade vs. Hugh Jackman Van Helsing vs. Peter Cushing Van Helsing spin-off movie, I'll be pretty disappointed.

"Yes, I do have plenty of Batman secrets to reveal that aren't true."
The costumes in this movie were really slick. A++. The designers took the best of fantasy and rugged exteriors to make the most metro of the male cast look pretty bad ass. And the set design was again, out of this world stunning. Visually, I was taken away. I felt I was actually sitting on a stump in this small forest town watching these events unfold, and face-palming at the villagers' needlessly dramatic situations. Nice to see non-CG fantasy environments in film for once.

The very beginning of the film had swooping visuals of the other locales in this world, but the movie really only took place in the village. Kind of disappointing that none of these other design sets were utilized; perhaps another tale in this kingdom will come along.

Final Thoughts
The actual film fell out of focus numerous times. Anytime I have to squint my eyes to see what's going on is bad. The design of the wolf was kind of awesome; even though it was just a black-furred wolf with yellow eyes, it still looked like it could do some serious damage.

FEAR THE GMORK!!! Oops, wrong movie...

And I've seen a full-moon before, and a full-moon does NOT take four to five days to complete it's lunar cycle. Come on, people! Also, if you see the movie, that is not the moon. That's Mars, if anything. That probably explains all the weird behavior; a planet is altering human behavior, not to mention the waves.

All in all, Red Riding Hood is a fine, cheesy movie for devout movie goers and fans of fantasy-driven story. Dialogue is sub-par, the design is fantastic, and the torrid secrets in this town are ridiculous. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess came to mind a lot, so if you're interested in a movie that journeys the same path, check it out. As for me, stay tuned for my review of MechaGodzilla and Seyfried Red Riding Hood-themed fan fiction.

"Science rules." - Bill Nye the Science Guy

1 comment:

Herkle Shertz said...

Way to fall for hardly the 6th best looking person from the movie Mean Girls.

Up your fantasy laden standards, Trehern.

Writing, wit, humor: A

Woman pedestal-ing: D -