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"Red Riding Hood" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date:
Special Features:

Featurettes, commentary track, gag reel, DVD edition, music videos, deleted scenes Rating: R


Before Grimms fairy tales were declawed they often featured vicious creatures, violent stories that always had some sort of moral designed to teach children right from wrong, who to trust and the importance of staying away from people who were "different". Director Catherine Hardwicke elected to empower Little Red Riding Hood making her more adult and bringing in a werewolf and a bit of gothic romance to return the tale to its roots. Unfortunately she fails at achieving her goal. Nevertheless "Red Riding Hood" IS entertaining but like a werewolf just can't decide if it wants to be beast or a dreamy guy mom would want you to date and dad would look at suspiciously. ***

What's surprising is that the casting is also a bit off as well. As wide eyed and some what innocent Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) discovers things aren't what they used to be in the old village. Valerie is in love with the hunky woodcutter (Shiloh Fernandez) but she finds her parents (Billy Burke and Virginia Madsen) have promised her to the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Complicating matters a werewolf has shown up in their midst killing Valerie's sister and putting everyone in the village in peril with the only help coming from Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) who rallies the villagers to hunt the werewolf. ***

The good news is that "Red Riding Hood" is a handsome looking production with strong production design BUT it all comes down in the end to the script and even a great director can't make a werewolf's ear into a silk purse. The visual effects are often stunning. Clearly a lot of love and care went into this production and it's a pity that all the hard effort by the crew including the director Hardwick (best known for directing the first installment of the "Twilight" saga). Hardwick allows the film to dissolve into a series of silly, often campy moments that reminds me more of what went wrong with a film like "Van Helsing" than the scary saga that we expected. ---

Image & Sound:

You'll be able to truly sink your teeth into the sumptious (or perhaps watch the film wide eyed and bushy tailed so-to-speak) look of the film. Transferred on to a 50gig disc colors positively pop and detail is sharp and clear. ***

Audio will remind you what big ears you have as the film roars to life with a rich, marvelous sounding 5.1 lossless presentation. Surround speakers get quite a work out with sound effects galloping from one speaker to the other with tremendous accuracy and depth. ---

Special Features:

We get "Secrets Behind the Red Cloak" a pip (picture-in-picture) commentary track featuring Director Hardwicke, Seyfried, Fernandez and Irons. It's a pity they didn't have beer as if they had a few it might have been entertaining. ***

"Behind the Story" is a series of featurettes on the production of the film. We also get a gag reel, deleted scenes and a couple of music videos round things out. ---

Final Words:

Red didn't stay away from grandma's house in the original tale but luckily viewers can steer clear of this film.


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