Thursday night equates to my weekly trip to the local theatre. On offer was Red Riding Hood and Battle Los Angeles. I was very sceptical on seeing either of them after comments I had read within blogospere. But I can't live without my weekly theatre dose so I would have sat through almost anything!!
I saw the poster to Red Riding hood weeks ago and really liked it. It is one of the coolest I have seen in a while and I hoped the movie would mirror it. The recent reviews though had me re-coiling in horror and I thought 'oh no' can it really be that bad? Well in this humble cinema goers opinion it isn't! I won't say it is great but it isn't terrible either. I will say this though, it could have been so much more. It has some really good ingredients but somehow it didn't deliver enough to satisfy.
What did i like? Well I really liked the cienmatography. It captured the Grimm's fairy tale setting very well. It was dark and moody, with a mild gothic feel and I revelled in it. But at the same time it was all a bit too clean. I liked it but it bothered me at the same time. I did like though that the makers tried to make the setting as fairy tale as possible without making it all ridiculous. Take for example the trees outside Red Riding Hood's grandmother's cottage with huge spikes for branches. There is prodigious use of CGI which is good and easy on the eye. So visually I wasn't disappointed and got what I expected.
The acting is what it should have been but Gary Oldman, as one would expect, was the standout. He steals his scenes as a father obssessd with werewolfs to the point of inempathy for its victims. It is indicative that when he arrives the peaceful, gentle village is put under a military type lock down and the villagers systematically beaten and degraded. This is a father who is nothing but a hypocrite. Interestingly Oldman's isn't the headline name as Amanda Seyfried's is, and yet Oldman is the bigger star.
Seyfried is her usual self and I really wish to see her in some more challenging roles.She is getting to the age where she isn't convincing as a teenager anymore. At times I could see the twenty five year old she really is. She can't keep doing roles like this. I'm not overly fussed on her as an actress as she has played the same roles too often. It is time to play parts that mirror her actual age and not ones fitted to her looks. She is certainly a good looker but those looks won't last forever so she must seriously look at her future and change tack if she wants to stay a Hollywood starlet.
As Red Riding Hood she is fine with all the virginal innocence ( Seyfried herself virginal? hah hah hah!! ) of youth and has all the appropriate facial expressions. It is nothing she hasn't done before though. The rest of the cast is fine but I can't help but feel there is too much Twilight here and a lack of character identity among the young cast members. This is a movie that is trying to be all things to all viewers and yet isn't either. It isn't totally a teen film or adult enough, so neither generation will feel completely satisfied by it.
Also it is a take on the Red Riding Hood story and yet it delves off into werewolfs, whereas the actual story involved a straight wolf. Maybe the plot should have discarded the Riding Hood analogy and tried to make a werewolf movie instead, because as a Red Riding Hood werewolf movie it again tries to cover both bases and fails to do so adequately enough. There is too much Riding Hood and not enough werewolf. In fact it only appears twice in the whole movie!! The viewer is hence left unsatisfied as to what the movie is trying to be.
The plot has been shot to pieces by reviewers and yet I found it fine. It didn't bother me as it was possibly the only constant in the movie. Horror fans have decried the lack of it being a decent werewolf tale. What they are forgeting is that this isn't horror per se, and is intended to get as many patrons into see it, so no R ratings. Again the whole movie doesn't quite know what it is, and I do feel agrieved at the lack of werewolf compared to the amount of Seyfried!!
All in all Red Riding Hood isn't bad as it is disappointing. It has some good points like the cinematography which gives a decent 'fairy tale' air. The let down is that for a werewolf tale there isn't enough of the black hairy beast! I can live without it delving into a horror but surely some more of Mr Wolf wouldn't have gone astray? The real problem is that this movie is trying to play on the success of Twilight in having a young, good looking cast, to appeal to teenagers and having Oldman to bring a serious air for an adult audience. It does neither for either generation and falls flat in its attempt.
Ultimately Red Riding Hood is unsatisfying. It is certainly not bad and worth seeing because far worse movies have been played before my eyes. Just don't expect too much because once you have left the theatre you will almost immediately forget what you had just seen ( a bubble gum movie, after the first three chews the flavour is gone!! ) Unremarkable, and a disappointing take on what could have been so much better. But isn't that the way with so many movies??