On Saturday, the day after I posted a joke review of Red Riding Hood, I ended up having to actually go see it. Before it started, I tweeted this. I was really, really hoping I'd be wrong. I wasn't. I don't claim psychic powers, mind you. It's just that predicting Red Riding Hood would suck wasn't that tough of a call. In the joke review, I said director Catherine Hardwicke had learned from the mistakes she made making Twilight but she didn't learn a damn thing and why should she have? Twilight and its sequels have made a bazillion dollars so I suppose she and everyone else involved in making this movie didn't see a reason to not try and copy that successful formula and soak the teenage girl looking for yet another edition of sex free porn. To their credit, a good chunk of the audience with whom I saw the movie was teenage girls. I hope they liked it. I didn't.
It turns out the Brothers Grimm had this story completely wrong, probably because they didn't have access to young adult literature and didn't know the elements that would make it truly interesting. Luckily, we have Catherine Hardwicke to take the tale of a little girl saved from a wolf by a friendly woodsman to transform that timeless, popular tale into a dated, contemporary tale that's so popular that it opened third behind some crappy looking aliens and a talking chameleon. Red is now a sexy young woman named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and the woodsman who saved Red is now some pretty boy douchebag with excellent hair named Peter. Peter and Valerie are in love but her family wants her to marry another pretty boy douchebag with excellent hair named Henry who is only differentiated from Peter by the fact that his family has money. Mind you, that's a relative term as they live in one of those medieval villages where the richest guy in town is the one whose house smells 10% less like shit than the homes of everyone else in the village but that's better than nothing, I suppose. There is, sadly, a huge obstacle keeping Valerie from enjoying either a comfortable life with Henry or a poor, hot sex filled life with Peter and that is the werewolf.
Every full moon for a couple decades now, a wolf shows up in town. He used to kill people until they started leaving some of their best livestock out for it. That satisfied the wolf until the day that it didn't and he decided to get back to what he was good at, that being killing the villagers and who better to start with than Valerie's sister?
So, what was not to like about this? First, I figured out who the werewolf was pretty quickly. It was just a guess at first and they kept throwing out fake clues because they wanted you to think it could be anyone. Hell, Valerie even saw at one point that, in human form, the werewolf had brown eyes, something that turned out to be the most useless clue in history when it turned out that everyone in the village, including some werewolf hunters who had just arrived, had brown eyes. Still, I thought, "Oh, that's the wolf," pretty much as soon as I saw this person and I was right. Another reason to hate it is some of the most lackluster acting I've seen in a while. This is pretty much the case with everyone except for Gary Oldman's sadistic werewolf hunter character, Father Solomon. Oldman defies what were apparently Catherine Hardwicke's instructions to the cast to act as if their characters were mannequins. True, he goes in the opposite direction by mixing full on Shatnering with a bit of, "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD, SON OF JOR-EL!" mixed in but he was a welcome bright spot nonetheless. One more thing I want to mention is that all the deaths in the movie, and there were many, were completely unnecessary. The legend says, and this is demonstrated to be true, that the wolf cannot enter holy ground so, naturally, everyone in the village silently and collectively decides to stay as far away from their local church as they possibly can on full moon nights. Oh, Valerie has a dream about her grandmother that's as dumb as it is homoerotic. Ugh.
I see Catherine Hardwicke's next film will be a new adaptation of Hamlet. Under her watchful eye, it will doubtlessly become the forbidden love story of Hamlet and some nervous virgin and I, for one, can't wait.