Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Release Date: 24 March 2011
Runtime: 100 mins
In all honesty, Red Riding Hood is far worse than Hardwicke's previous effort, that of the sparkly vampires, Twilight; the latter was plagued with emotion whereas the former lacks anything resembling real emotion. Amanda Seyfried's lines from the classic story Red Riding Hood are worked into the script so awkwardly, we'd guess she's about 24 hours away from being turned into an internet meme.
It's a travesty of rather epic proportions that British film veteran and unquestionable talent, Gary Oldman, has so little meat to sink his teeth into. A fine actor, even when presented with fantasy-themed films (remember his turn in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many believe is the best Potter film to date?), his lines delivered still have a special presence, just not the lasting effect we're used to.
Writer David Johnson, with only one previous feature script under his belt (Orphans) and future release Wrath of the Titans
—because what major flop Clash of the Titans really needed was a sequel —has done a pretty pitiful job. We'd definitely slip someone a crisp $20 note to get a look at the treatment and first draft of the script. It seems a shame that Hardwicke, a filmmaker with a keen eye for the visually arresting, was put in charge of this flabby Hollywood cash in. The settings are frequently beautiful and the tones oscillate between deep grey, wintery white, warm amber, and of course the bright, tomato red of little red's cape.
In interviews in the lead up to release, Hardwicke remarked that Seyfried looks like a fairytale character. Well sure, but she also looks like a stunned, very pretty mullet for much of the film. Her attempt at conveying terror and grief when she discovers her sister has died in an attack from the wolf is cold and unconvincing. Newcomer Max Irons (yes, son of Jeremy) may have a solid grip on the most honest portrayal of any character in the film, but it's still a role lacking depth. Put someone in a small glass box 3 feet by 4 feet and they're still going to be working within that confined space. Shiloh Fernandez has a fruity name and a handsome face, but lacks the charm and dare we say acting skills of his contemporaries such as Shia Le Beouf and even Robert Pattinson.
There are literally shades of Twilight here, but this film feels as flimsy and makeshift as the high school theatre production backdrop it seems to have been modelled around. The project shouldn't have been allowed to come to fruition with that script and those actors. Shame shame shame on you Leonardo DiCaprio, producer. Cavorting less and visiting the set more may have convinced you that this was an extremely bad idea, or allowed you to step in and show them how it's done.