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Movie Review: Red Riding Hood

Okay first off this film could be somebody's thesis, for serious: it draws heavily not only on fairy tales but on fairy tale studies. Add in the direction by Catherine Hardwicke who I swear has a superpower for taking on source material that can be painfully mysoginist and then unleashing her own brand of feminism all the fuck over it? Just yum.

(Speaking of: Y'know how she directed Twilight? She recast Billy Burke, who plays Charlie in that franchise, as Cesaire, Valerie's father, in this film. YOU CAN MAKE A WHOLE 'NOTHER PAPER ON BURKE'S SPINS ON FATHERHOOD, PEOPLE.)

Most of all the film reminded me of the original Wicker Man, one of my favorite films of all time, from its sense of impending horror and suggested violence--and really, all the blood in it is not that bad, except it seems so much worse the way it's shot--to its dance of Christianity versus paganism and its hypersexuality.

Gary Oldman and Julie Christie were restrained and did not overshadow the performances of the younger characters. I don't understand why Amanda Seyfriend is in everything recently (I told my friend Candy that she reminds me of Skipper, Barbie's little sister) but let's give the girl some credit--he held her own in her scenes with Julie. Fuck yeah.

The weakest part of the story was the characterization of the boys. I'm never quite clear why we're supposed to root for Peter, aside from the fact he looks really good in tight black leather. I was also really distracted by Max Irons's Henry, as I just kept thinking THIS IS PEETA, THIS IS PEETA! for when they make The Hunger Games film. Seriously, people working on that movie? HIRE THAT BOY.

Okay, I'm gonna go conk out now. But go see this movie after you see The Adjustment Bureau. Or before. Just promise me you'll see both of them, 'kay?


( 12 comments — Add your .02 )
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:03 pm (UTC)
Both those movies are on my to watch list and bopth are not yet out in my dreary country across the ocean.


But I'm really hoping I will like The Adjustment Bureau as much as I liked Inception. The trailers are at least very promising.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
Dude. Just SOOOOOOOO Good.
Mar. 13th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
Oooh. *makes a note*
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
*draws little stars around it helpfully*
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
I saw this last night, and I didn't like it!

I thought the narrative was muddled and the acting was bad. Not even Gary Oldman got a scrit that was really worthy of him. I totally agree with you about the boys...I found myself rooting for the blonde one. And I expected her to have to kill Peter after what happened, happened.

I totally agree with you about Catherine Hardwicke. I really enjoyed her take on Twilight. Red Riding Hood wasn't as feminist as I expected, though. I just didn't feel like she showed a lot of agency. Nor did I feel like the movie dug into the fairy tale's psychosexual themese and folkloric symbolism the way it promised too.

The set design bugged the shit out of me, for some reason. And the flimsy constumes, in the middle of snow, bugged the shit of out my historical-reconstructionist BFF. I'm sure that the folk dancing scene was suposed to be awesome, like the rave in Matrix Reloaded or something, but mixing in folk dancing with club-style hoochie moves just didn't work. I also thought I caught a whiff of performative lesbianism in that scene...or would have, if Valerie and the girl she was dancing with seemed to be into each other.

What the hell was the deal with that model that Father Solomon unveiled? Was the cup in the middle suppose to be the Sun? Whast does flash powerder have to do with anytihng? And a red moon also has nothing to do with Mars--it has to do with the dust in the atmosphere. The Blood Moon is not a red moon, either--it's the first full moon after the Harvest Moon.

One thing that disappointed me was, the wolf never howled at the moon. They had the perfect opportunity when it escaped after talking to Valerie the first time and was up on the roof. You just don't make a werewolf movie without that.

I'm not saying that there's nothing I liked about it. The wolf was totally not who I thought it would be. Also, it's fairly empowering that the grandmother was suspectedfor as long as she was. The scene that was filmed from inside the shame mask? Was also brilliant.

I will see it again, so I'll get to see if it strikes me any differently. So far, though, it fell way short of my expectations.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
See I didn't get performative lesbianism out of the dance scene at all. I got that she didn't want to not be dancing, so she danced with her friend--and I actually really liked that there's two girls dancing together and no one bats an eye at it.

I actually thought for the longest time that the wolf was the prospective mother-in-law and it was going to be some kind of woman's inhumanity to woman type thing.

I'm also wondering if maybe there weasn't some significant stuff cut from the final film. Just judging by the snippets at the end credits, I wasn't certain at all if some of those scenes were supposed to be AFTER the film or interspersed with it.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
I admit this movie review totally threw me! I've heard nothing but terrible things about Red Riding Hood, but you've piqued my interest all over again. I think I know where I'm going today.
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I live on my own planet. That is all. ;)
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna admit, the only things that are likely to get me to see this are A) Gary Oldman and B) Someone telling me that she IS the wolf or something equally spectacular.
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yeh it's not your type of flick. *pat pat*
Mar. 14th, 2011 07:48 am (UTC)
Spoilers for those who haven't seen it yet
I saw this on saturday and I agree with you it was good and entertaining but the directing is where it suffered, I felt some of the scenes where direct rips from the twilight films, and not in the way that a director has a flavor but in the way a director can be short sited and says this looked pretty in this movie so I am going to do it again.

I agree I didn't think the handled the boys well either, Peter was hot in his black leather, but I didn't feel either of them where good for her nor where they strong male characters for the heroin to love or end up with.

I did think it was interesting that they made the father the wolf, but it finding this out gave it an odd molestation feel, when you look at some of the context of the first conversation she has with the wolf.

I love Gary Oldman in this, and felt I liked his character the best even if he was a little douchey, he and the Grandmother just felt like they had the best development.

I kept waiting for Valerie to grab her boobs and say there's a 80% chance it's already raining....Oh Mean Girls.

But anyway, I don't like her as a director, I feel her films could be stronger and she has a lot of growing to do. But I do agree she does have the ability to take something that could make chicks look bad and make them bad ass.

I loved who ever did the set design in this, but I feel the costuming looked like bad ren-faire garb at moments and the dance sequence while cool felt a bit forced and out of place.
Mar. 15th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: Spoilers for those who haven't seen it yet
See, I think the weird father/wolf vibe was intentional, cos seriously, incest/molestation etc is a common trope of fairy tales. I really wondered for a while if they were going to do anything else with Lucy, like maybe even some sort of Donkeyskin sort of thing or something.

The dance sequence didn't bother me. I really liked the pseudo-pagan touches as well as the could-be Mummers.

And the set design was epic. I ADORED the angel and the wolf-devil on the church door SOOOOOOOOOO much!!
( 12 comments — Add your .02 )

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