Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“The Village”, “Sleepy Hollow”, “Twilight ”
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke of the "Twilight" saga, comes "Red Riding Hood", a folk story loosely based on the Brothers Grimm's 300-year-old tale "Rotkäppchen". Set in the remote yet recluse European village of Daggerhorn, the audience will follow Valerie played by Amanda Seyfried ("Dear John"), a local girl desperately in love with a rugged, tormented woodsman named Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), much to the distaste of her family who wish her to marry the rich Henry (Max Irons) instead. The love triangle is further complicated when a werewolf begins terrorizing the town, leading villagers to believe the human form of the monster is among them. Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a werewolf-hunting expert, is brought in to find and slay the beast. By taking the children's story audiences know and expanding on the details, there is an almost Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" plus M.Night Shyamalan's "The Village" and of course, a dash of "Twilight" feel to "Red Riding Hood".
As a director, Hardwicke certainly knows what kind of world she is attempting to create and executes her vision effectively enough. The moody shots of giant trees and aerial views of breathtaking scenery, makes the cinematography aspect her absolute forte. However, for the casual moviegoers, having an electronica soundtrack by Fever Ray playing over what is supposed to be a medieval European setting is a "unique" vision indeed. However, it is very unsure whether potential audiences will find that the soundtrack blends well with the movie or is merely one of Hardwicke's personal indulgences (other than the obvious casting of palpitation-inducing good-looking pretty boys).
In terms of acting, Amanda Seyfried's beauty is undeniable as she hits all the right notes as far as longing stares and anxious glances are concerned. Likewise, fairly new actors Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez, who look suitably brooding, do not offer more than just that. Gary Oldman's role as the 'Eurotrash' version of Van Helsing is inserted to add some old school fire and credibility to the story and only when he appears on the big screen does the movie manage to pick up its pace.
Yes, there is a lot of "Twilight" nuances that seems to be discreetly appearing in "Red Riding Hood" - right down to the teenage heroine torn between two boys of equal desirability and her alcoholic father (played by Billy Burke, who also drinks too much as Bella's father in "Twilight"). However, rather than having to choose between a werewolf and a vampire, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) has to choose between the poor but handsome woodcutter named Peter (Fernandez) and the rich but handsome blacksmith named Henry (Irons).
Overall, Oldman and Seyfried provide to be a good combination as a big attraction factor to keep the movie interesting, however Hardwicke's movie lacks the bite to make it a Hollywood gem let alone a cult classic.Cinema Online, 15 April 2011