"Red Riding Hood"
Released March 2011
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
I'm not sure how I feel about reviewing older movies, but this one came out this year so I figured it was okay. I had planned to see it in the theater but never got around to it. It looked interesting and it was based off of a book. I very nearly bought that book, but decided to put it on my list of books to read...eventually.
Classic fairy tales and folk tales are commonly used as the foundational story for movies. It's not exactly innovative. It may even be a bit of a cop-out to use a timeless story over and over again. I think a new version of Cinderella graces the silver screen every year and they are normally pretty awful. Yet, every so often one of these adaptions takes a very unique approach and we get a good film out of it. I was hopeful that perhaps this would be one of those movies.
This is of course not the first adaption of Little Red Riding Hood by any means, but making it into a thriller/horror/live action film was an intriguing idea. Overall, I have to say, I did like the concept, but I don't think that they pulled it off. It was interesting enough to keep my husband and I watching the movie to see how they ended it. (Which is more than I can say about the movie Beastly which was turned off barely halfway through). I'm not saying the ending was shocking, but we wanted to see what direction they would go since the entire movie was set up as a "who dun it" game of Clue. Was the werewolf Professor Plum in the Library or Ms. Scarlett in the Conservatory? Really it didn't matter who it was. They may have even just picked at random.
We were trying to decide if the acting was bad and came to the conclusion that the script was just written poorly. The cast included actors that we were both positive were good actors, and yet the lines were so cheesy and scripted it was hard to get absorbed in the world they created.
Which brings me to the director, Catherine Hardwicke. She's done production design on a number of great films, and I think that may be her forte. The actual atmosphere created is usually pretty good, but as far as directing does I'm unimpressed with her repertoire. One of her more recent directing ventures was Twilight and I don't think anyone, fan or not, is under the illusion that the Twilight movie was a brilliant work of film. No, Ms. Hardwicke's movies have a trend of being disappointing even if the concept it a good one. I always leave her movies thinking "that could have been done so much better" rather than "wow that was terrible." I'm not sure which is worse.
So I can't say that I thought this was a great movie. Perhaps in ten to fifteen years a new director will pick it up to remake and do a much better job...but for now I'd say it was more or less a failure.