16 April 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
Tries to be too many things all at once
I wasn't sure whether I wanted to see this movie. I am not a fan of the Twilight movies(the first of which Catherine Hardwicke also directed) and it didn't look like my kind of film. But I saw it for the wonderful Gary Oldman.
I wasn't expecting much, and I didn't get much. Red Riding Hood(not the fairytale by the way) does try hard to be a lot of things, including introducing a number of horror, fantasy and mystery elements. But due to the sluggish pace and disjointed story structure(that is full of overlong filler, particularly the celebration scene, and the dream sequence was very awkwardly placed) the film fails at pretty much all these elements.
The script is very clunky, underdeveloped and banal as well. A lot of it did not keep my attention and I found myself chuckling into my coke at any unintentionally funny bits. The CGI is quite poor here, with the wolf looking as though it was done in a hurry. Hardwicke's direction never rises above mediocre, the editing is unfocused and frenzied and the three titular characters are incredibly dull and uninteresting with the romantic elements between them poorly written and directed.
The acting doesn't fare much better. Amanda Seyfried is pretty but bland in the title role and shows little or no chemistry with her co-stars, while Max Irons(son of Jeremy), Lukas Haas and Shiloh Fernandez show good looks but awkward line delivery. Virginia Madsen and Billy Burke are both wasted, both over-doing it in a valiant attempt to elevate their weak material(these two actors probably had the worst of the dialogue next to the leads actually). And the climax is little more than a mangled mess and devoid of depth.
Despite these many cons, there are some decent assets. The score is atmospheric enough and the costume and set design are spot on. Plus there are two good performances, Gary Oldman and Julie Christie. Oldman does chew the scenery, but he looks as though he's having a ball, while Christie is very enchanting.
Overall, not terrible, but deeply flawed and over-ambitious. 4/10 Bethany Cox