Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Amanda Seyfried plays the heroine, Valerie, in Catherine Hardwicke’s rich adaptation of fairy tale “Red Riding Hood.” Hardwicke is known by young viewers as the director of Twilight and fans will recognize Hardwicke’s depiction of young romance in this upcoming movie starring Shiloh Fernandez as Peter, an impoverished woodcutter, and Max Irons as Henry, a well-heeled blacksmith – both Valerie’s suitors. Amanda Seyfried has legions of female fans, although movie forums have it that the winner on “Red Riding Hood’s” opening weekend will be "Battle: Los Angeles.” Boys are unlikely to show much interest in this new movie which is reminiscent of a Disney movie and it’s doubtful that adult fans who remember Seyfried from “Thirteen,” which premiered at Sundance, are going to come out to see “Red Riding Hood.” This new movie release is certainly not perfect but Hardwicke’s creative team has come up with some stunning images following Valerie around in her long, blood-red, flowing cape. Hardwicke really seems to understand fantasy in this movie picture, but the script is predictable.

In the medieval village of Daggerhom, the people have been frightened by a series of werewolf attacks. Valerie, the most beautiful girl in the village, is trying to run away with her boyfriend Peter but her parents, played by Billy Burke and Virginia Madsen, have promised her hand to Henry who comes from a rich family. Valerie is tough, even though there have been accusations of witchcraft at her church by the church inquisitor and her sister has been killed by a werewolf. Valerie tries to figure out who the werewolf is as everyone from her grandmother, played by Julie Christie, to the men in her life become possible suspects.

Seyfried is the driving force behind this movie. She has big, blue eyes and bright red lips. She’s very likeable, besides being smart and pretty. It’s good she’s in almost every scene because the movie would fade without her. Her next job is the final episode of “Big Love” and will also be in “Now” with Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy, and Justin Timberlake. She’s good in “Red Riding Hood” but there’s only so much she can do in this movie.

Fernandez, with dark hair and smoldering, dark eyes is a good foil for Seyfried. He’ll soon be seen in “Skateland.” Irons is a little bland. Gary Oldman plays Father Solomon, and does a great job of hamming up his role as the nasty priest in purple velvet who’s hunting the werewolf. It’s too bad that the rest of the actors didn’t follow his cue.

There are beautiful shots of the Canadian Rockies from cinematographer Mandy Walker that show Valerie walking through the snow with her red cape trailing behind her. Thomas Sanders’ medieval village and the forest on a sound stage in Vancouver are wonderful. Jeffrey A. Okun and Andy Cheng did a terrific job with visual effects when the werewolf speaks with Valerie. The best part of the movie may be Valerie’s stunning cloak which was embroidered in Vancouver by fourteen members of a sewing circle.

Leonardo DiCaprio and the team at Appian Way are responsible for the idea of switching out the wolf in Red Riding Hood for a werewolf. It was a great idea but the scriptwriter, David Leslie, failed to deliver on it.

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