Amanda Seyfried has yet to find the right movie for her particular talents. Seyfried mixes girl next door good looks, those amazing flying saucer eyes, and inviting sensuality into one precocious package. She would be a dream come true in a Bertolucci movie or as captured by Antonioni’s loving lens. Sadly, being a young American actress means offering her services for schlock such as “Dear John,” Letters to Juliet,” and her latest “Red Riding Hood.”
Amanda Seyfried stars in “Red Riding Hood” as Valerie, the virginal daughter of a wood cutter (Billy Burke, Bella’s dad from Twilight) who is promised in marriage by her mother, Suzette (Virginia Madsen) to Henry (Max Irons) the son of a wealthy family friend.
Valerie however, is in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and intends to run away with him. Their plans are thwarted when Valerie’s sister is murdered by a werewolf. Now, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) is coming to the village to hunt the wolf and a dark secret Valerie did not know she carried will place her in the wolf’s path.
Amateur CGI Werewolves
“Red Riding Hood” was directed by Catherine Hardwicke a talented director who has faltered under the weight of big budgets and special effects. Hardwicke is exceptionally talented in crafting warm and intimate scenes, as she demonstrated in her wonderful coming of age film “Thirteen” and in the quiet moments of her hit “Twilight.”
Unfortunately, special effects simply are not Catherine Hardwicke’s forte. The CGI in “Red Riding Hood,” used to render the wolf and portions of the mid-centuries village, is amateurish in comparison to other similar, werewolf-centric, CGI heavy films including such stinkers as “The Wolfman” and “Underwold: Evolution.
Market Tested Pop Culture
The gothic air that Hardwicke attempts to bring to “Red Riding Hood” comes off campy rather than mysterious or forbidding. Attempts to mix period clich©s with modern pop culture savvy feel forced and trite. What little that works in “Red Riding Hood” is when Hardwicke focuses on smaller, intimate moments, ones that take advantage of star Amanda Seyfried’s innate eroticism.
The climax of “Red Riding Hood” is laughable as the filmmakers settle the allegedly mysterious identity of the werewolf by choosing a character at random. So indiscriminate is the choice of the identity of the werewolf that it is fair to wonder if the filmmakers knew the choice before they filmed it.
“Red Riding Hood” is a mess of feeble CGI and market tested pop culture. Though star Amanda Seyfried still manages to be radiant and alluring, the film is all gothic bluster and teen targeted kitsch. Fans of Ms. Seyfried would be better served waiting for her next film; a teaming with visionary director Andrew Niccol called “Now.” That film hits theaters October 11th 2011.