Posted by: greercn | April 20, 2011

Red Riding Hood

In “Star Trek”, characters wearing red were the first to die. It was wise not to get attached to them in their brief moments.

“Red Riding Hood” is a classic fairy tale, from Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm and it has been made into lots of movies, usually with a “Little” in front of the “Red”. Nothing is “little” here.

From Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the “Twilight” movies and “The Lords of Dogtown”, I feared this would be “Twilight” lite. And it is. The divided opinions of four other people – two for and two against – made me put it on the watching schedule.

The influence of “Xena Warrior Princess” on this runs deeply.  That TV show changed the medieval village on screen forever. Hovels are airbrushed and women all have long and lustrous curls. Men come in three types: Robert Pattinson, Thor and Gary Oldman. Yes, indeed, Gary Oldman is here too, looking and acting as if he took a wrong turning on the way to a “Harry Potter” audition.

Amanda Seyfried is Valerie, our Red heroine, who reminds you of “Schindler’s” red-coated girl. The wolf is reimagined as a werewolf, enabling lots of familiar “Twilight” images and references to witchcraft. Holy Salem, Batman. We are not in Kansas.

Most of the time, we are somewhere near Vancouver, with adorable homes, big torch lights and fires, swords and snowy effects that never require hats or any clothing that would impede our view of heaving bosoms.

How Virginia Madsen and the gorgeous Julie Christie ended up in this can only be answered by speculating on how much they might have been paid. They are both fun to watch in this, as always.

There is a plot. Valerie has to choose between a rich guy and a poor guy. The werewolf is coming after villagers, after decades of being appeased by prime livestock. Could the evil creature be one of the characters in the film? Let’s get in Gary Oldman and his wacky wolf lore, henchmen fleeing from a Crusades movie and a really big metal elephant to add visual spice.

Oldman’s trademark menace is good fun. Much of the tale is very entertaining and it has the same gorgeous mountains and valleys and beautiful people that make the “Twilight” saga so watchable.

Heck, if you want postmodern and feminist readings of the fairy story, you will Google and find those, right?

If you love “Xena”, “Buffy” and “Twilight” or if you get annoyed by those who read deep meanings into fairy tales, do go see it. Be prepared to accept that there is much that is scattered and derivative. Suspend your disbelief and you will enjoy the feeling of a superior carnival ride.

You will rarely get to see such a lovely moon and you can focus on that rather than on the roaring about the “blood moon” that gets hammered into you again and again.

The Stratford Picturehouse audience was entertained and found it enjoyable, as did I. The music is terrific, too. I still think I enjoyed the “Twilight” movies much more and this is very much part of that series. Gorgeous visuals, pretty people and super stunts and effects rule this and it passes the time okay, without lingering for too long.


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