Friday, January 24, 2014

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood (2011)

Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Irons). 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 (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. As panic grips the town, Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast--one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect...and bait.
~Warner Bros. Pictures

This movie was an original take on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, and it was really cool how the storylines were barely the same, but the movie incorporated familiar scenes - such as the scene with the wolf and the grandmother - in a way that was completely unfamiliar and, in some cases, even ended up in a different outcome. I know there's a book called Red Riding Hood written by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, but I'm not sure whether it was based on the movie or if the movie was based on it. I'm pretty sure the book was based on the movie though, especially considering that both the novel and film came out in 2011.

I feel like this would be a great movie for people who like reading books. Watching this movie to me felt like watching The Hunger Games or The Host after reading the book. There's this feeling of déjà vu, and it's easy to find yourself comparing the book and the movie, like you'd do with any other book-movie combo out there. I was reminded of The Crucible when watching the movie; it was so easy to compare the two. There were the false accusations of witchery and the guy who kills innocent people in the name of the Lord. Yeah, I'm talking about the wolf killer, Father Solomon; as far as I know, he hasn't killed any werewolves, only his wife. Coward. I guess he correlated to Abigail from The Crucible. It really is sad how people take advantage of the unknowledged, and how people are quick to blame their problems on people just because they're different. What's worse is that this happens every day in real life. It's just that the consequences are less obvious, and so not always acknowledged.

I know this is queer, but I found myself surprised at how...pretty the three main characters were. I don't want to be misunderstood here; I was downright giddy that I could stare at 2 hot guys throughout the film, but it seemed kind of unreal that people back then could look like that. For example, I really don't think Peter's hairstyle could have existed in the olden days when there was no such thing as hair gel. Neither would I expect everyone's clothes to be so fine, but maybe now I'm just thinking in stereotypes. Either way, I loved the setting, the clothes, the characters, and even the tone of the movie. Every detail in the movie served as a reminder of how creepy the little town was, and it was impossible to forget about the werewolf. I loved the mystery part of the movie as well, and I'm so glad that for once, I wasn't even close to guessing who the werewolf really was. I doubted tons of people, and it turns out the only person I didn't suspect was the bad guy. I love it when the movie is smarter than me;)

Readers of YA and fans of fairy-tale retellings, I think this is a movie you should at least take a look at. There's a lot of action and a singular romantic tension that doesn't take away from the main focus of the film. The characters were very well casted; I couldn't have done better if I'd tried. Take a peek at the trailer below. Hopefully, it'll prove my point. Plus, the music played at the end of the trailer is awesome!

Movie: Red Riding Hood
Released March 11, 2011
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson
Run Time: 102 minutes

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