J.’s Short Movie Reviews – Red Riding Hood (2011)

Red Riding Hood is the latest entry in Hollywood’s continuing fascination with the re-imagining of almost everything from your childhood. However, unlike most of those attempts, this one works on many levels.

Now it should be noted that you have to know what you are getting going into this. This a movie influenced heavily by the things that a large portion of modern teenagers are into – specifically Twilight. Now you don’t have necessarily dig that series, but you  must be aware of the substance of that set of stories because of the influence. Twilight didn’t invent love triangles among teenagers but it is the modern source for mixing that with supernatural creatures. Additionally, director Catherine Hardwicke’s film making style employed in Twilight is in full effect here from the sweeping camera moves to the unique head shots for exposition to the use of music.

This take on the ages old tale asks the simple question: What if the “Red” character (Valerie played by Amanda Seyfried) was in a love triangle and that was connected to the search for/battle against the “wolf” character? That is the central plot of this film and it weaves in and out of the mystery of “who is the wolf?” that carries the rest of the film. It’s set in the Middle Ages (I think) but that’s really superfluous other than to put the story in a time when technology was primitive. This is most noticeable in the dialogue which is a mix of modern variables and the kind of Old English someone who read it in a fairy tale book would use. Again, none of that really matters though.  The primary dynamic of the setting that impacts the story is the time and place when the male figures were the ones people looked to for nearly everything and the females were there to be wives and mothers. Seyfried’s Valerie is an anomaly among the women because she can do everything the men can (sometimes even better than them) but she still accepts her role in her society while still remaining rather independent. I won’t spoil it any more than that but her performance in particular is what carries this entire story. Seyfried can play innocent and daring on an equal level and it serves this story well. Themes of honesty, family bonds, and love vs. sensibility are all featured here and it makes for an intriguing twist on the tale.

The action is fun, the constant pointing of fingers and mystery surrounding who is the wolf never gets tired, and the resolve is satisfying.

Rating: Medium Popcorn – This movie is a lot of fun taken for what it is – an interesting tale and is one of the best attempts of Hollywood to modernize and re-imagine something old.

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