CliqueClack Flicks

Red Riding Hood goes Twilight and almost forgets the Big Bad Wolf

Catherine Hardwicke brings the angsty, teenage love triangle of 'Twilight' to the fairy tale world with her re-telling of 'Red Riding Hood.'

Amanda Seyfried stars in "Red Riding Hood"

I was intrigued when I heard there was going to be a new version of the Red Riding Hood story. I like Amanda Seyfried, I adore Virginia Madsen, I had just seen Billy Burke in Drive Angry, and it’s always a treat when Gary Oldman shows up, even in the smallest role. While watching the movie, it was also a lot of fun picking out at least three actors who had appeared on Smallville this past season — Michael Hogan (also of Battlestar Galactica), Christine Willes and Michael Shanks. But when the movie began to unspool, I realized that I was not exactly the target audience.

Why, you may ask? Well, two words: Catherine Hardwicke. Hardwicke also directed Twilight and what she’s done to vampires, she’s now done to fairy tale characters. I really didn’t want to see a movie about a teenage love triangle, no matter how gorgeous the leads are. Some of the movie’s attempts at psychological drama — which works much better upon second viewing — gets lost in all of the teenage angst as Valerie (Seyfried) is promised to Henry (Max Irons) but is truly in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). At times, the big, bad (were)wolf almost seems like an afterthought. And poor Seyfried is saddled with the classic Red Riding Hood lines that just sound as ridiculous as Julie Christie‘s giant choppers look.

My other problem with the film is its indeterminate time period. Does the film take place in the 1600s of the original (first published) story, or some time later? It’s really hard to tell because the production design is wonderful, especially Grandmother’s house out in the middle of a forest of trees with giant thorns on them, but the actual village and the absurdly clean and beautifully coiffed and made-up villagers (at least the females … the men, except for Peter and Henry, are a little more grungy) had me expecting that just on the other side of that mountain would be a super highway in a twist worthy of Shyamalanexcept he already did that.

I would say that if you’re a teenage girl, or a fan of the Twilight movies, then you probably will enjoy Red Riding Hood. If you’re looking for a more dark, disturbing and gritty version of the story, do yourself a favor and check out Neil Jordan‘s 1984 cult film, The Company of Wolves starring Angela Lansbury as Granny. I much prefer the dark, forboding and claustrophobic atmosphere Jordan created and the film features some nifty, state-of-the-art (for 1984) human-to-wolf transformations (which we never see in this movie).

Red Riding Hood comes to home video this week in three versions: DVD, Blu-ray and DVD/Blu-ray combo + Digital Copy. The combo pack Blu-ray includes the theatrical cut of the film as well as an alternate version that runs just under a minute longer, adding some steaminess between Valerie and Henry and a surprise ending that probably got laughed off the screen during audience testing. There are also more deleted scenes, a humorous gag reel, behind-the-scenes featurettes, two music videos and a picture-in-picture commentary with Seyfried, Fernandez, Irons and Hardwicke (available only on the theatrical version). If you’d like to own Red Riding Hood (or The Company of Wolves), click on one of the images below.

Photo Credit: Kimberly French/Warner Brothers

Categories: DVDs, General, Reviews

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