RED RIDING HOOD Blu-ray Review

     June 28, 2011


From the outset, Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood sounds kind of… great? Seriously. Her best film is easily Thirteen, which dealt with young girls coming to understand their sexuality (and power therein), and Hardwicke brought the right temperament to the first Twilight film – she got the sexuality right and winked at the audience about the material’s inherent silliness. For Red Riding Hood, she has a great cast (Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie), the idea of the wolf as sexual predator, and the same sort of romantic triangle. If the film had done anything right, it might have – if nothing else – achieved cult status. Too bad the film is garbage in any cut. Our review of the Blu-ray of Red Riding Hood (which offers an Alternate cut of the movie) follows after the jump.

A medieval village is being hunted by a werewolf, and has been for decades. The town has dealt with it by offering sacrifices, which has kept the wolf at bay. Valarie (Seyfried) is of marrying age, and has two suitors: Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and Henry (Max Irons). She’s in love with one but promised to the other. Her sister also loves one of these boys, but is the first human murdered by the Wolf in ages. Such leads to the arrival of Solomon (Gary Oldman), the great Werewolf hunter.

Faster than you can say The Crucible, Seyfried becomes Scarlet lettered for being able to speak to the Wolf. She has a bond, and doesn’t know why, which makes her a witch to everyone around. So maybe it’s one of the dudes who’s into her, or maybe… oh fuck this. And all those good actors I listed at the beginning? They’ve got nothing much to do – Oldman does a good peacock, but… he’s done this before.

The look of the picture is right on the money and all the right ideas are there, but taking the The Crucible as the middle section – with baseless accusations flung about – really just makes this look like a belabored high school production. The alternate cut is a minute longer and the differences are marginal. On top of that the film’s way of interweaving the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood itself is done in a laughable manner. “What big eyes you have?” Yeah, it’s in there.

Ultimately, there’s nothing here, and it’s a dull ride getting to the ending. I wish they had a script, and where this sort of thing could have been fun if there was a little more behind it, Red Riding Hood is such a wet fart of a movie

The Blu-ray comes in widescreen (2.35:1) and in 5.1 DTS-HD surround, and the transfer is immaculate. The Blu-ray also comes with a DVD and Digital copy of the theatrical cut of the film. Alas, like so many would be successful productions, there are a lot of supplements on this bad boy. There’s the two cuts of the film (100 min. for the theatrical 101 for the alternate cut), with th theatrical cut coming with a PIP commentary track with director Catherine Hardwicke, Amanda Seyfried, Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez. Also in this commentary are behind the scenes footage bits and still galleries. In “Behind the Story” there are five featurettes on the making of the movie (23 min.), three casting tapes (7 min.), and three rehearsals (6 min.). There’s also four deleted scenes (4 min.), a gag reel (3 min.) and two music videos.

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