Red Riding Hood (2011)

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Released:  Friday, March 11, 2011  
Length:  109 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Drama/Suspense
Rating: Red Riding Hood is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Synopsis

Red Riding Hood © Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.
Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max rons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), , to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast--one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect and bait.

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Red Riding Hood Theatrical Review


Back in 2008, an indie film director, Catherine Hardwicke, made a big splash in Hollywood with the first film in the Twilight saga.   Although not liked by all, her perception of showing teenage angst and true love rocketed the film to stardom and has now become part of Hollywood lore.  She tries to strike lightning twice this spring with Warner Bros. Red Riding Hood.
 
Loosely based on the Brothers Grimm story, Red Riding Hood follows the life of Valerie (Amanda Seyfried; Jennifer's Body) who lives in a small town plagued by a werewolf.  Aside from the town's werewolf issue, Valerie is confronted by giving in to an arranged marriage or being a castaway running away with the one she loves, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).
 
The film starts off slow enough, but the movie starts to gain momentum when Solomon (Gary Oldman; Harry Potter, Batman) arrives into town to help the folks deal with their werewolf problem.
 
Director Catherine Hardwicke, taking her cues from Twilight, improves on the supernatural love story formula she helped establish.  Gone is a lot of the awkward moments and acting replaced with some real tension that takes place on the screen. Gary Oldman shines as always as the obsessed werewolf hunter taking his role to the extreme the way only Gary Oldman can, while Amanda Seyfried gives her best performance to date.  Originally Jacob Black (Twilight's Taylor Lautner) was to be cast as the love obsession of Valerie, but the decision to go with relative newcomer, Shiloh Fernandez, was a much better match.
 
While not taking the Brothers Grimm Red Riding Hood fairy tale word-for-word, the story still holds some key elements that will bring laughter and joy to the audience, e.g. a visit to Grandma's house, the classic  "what big eyes you have" spiel, and also the presence of the red hood.
 
Red Riding Hood is exactly as it presents itself, a teenage drama/love story, nothing more nothing less.  If this is your cup of tea, then this is a movie for you.  If you are sick of all the Twilight imitations in your life, then I suggest you skip this movie and wait for the Blu-ray.

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