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Catherine Hardwicke
Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie
Writing Credits:
Mark Steven Johnson

Believe the legend. Beware the wolf.

In a medieval village a beautiful young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family's displeasure. When her sister is killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village, the people call on a famed werewolf hunter to help them kill the wolf. As the death toll rises with each moon, the girl begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as she discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast--one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect ... and bait.

Box Office:
$42 million.
Opening Weekend
$14.005 million on 3030 screens.
Domestic Gross
$37.652 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min. (Theatrical Version) / 101 min. (Alternate Cut)
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 6/14/2011

• Both Theatrical and Alternate Cuts of Film
• “Secrets Behind the Cloak” Picture-in-Picture Commentary
• “The Reinvention of Red Riding Hood” Featurette
• “Red Riding Hood: Red’s Men” Featurette
• “Red Riding Hood: Making of the Score” Featurette
• “Before the Fur: Making of the CGI Wolf” Featurette
• Casting Tapes
• Rehearsals
• “Red Riding Hood In 73 Seconds”
• Four Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Music Videos
• Easter Egg
• Preview
• DVD/Digital Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Red Riding Hood [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 5, 2011)

While many fairy tales have leapt to the big screen over the years, they usually take the form of animated flicks such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. With 2011’s Red Riding Hood, however, a classic folk story gets a serious face lift.

Set in the medieval village of Daggerhorn, we meet a young woman named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried). A mild rebel, she loves hunky Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). However, her parents promise to have her marry wealthy – and also hunky – Henry (Max Irons), so Valerie and Peter think about running away together.

Before they can do so, tragedy strikes. For years, the village has appeased a local werewolf with sacrifices, but the beast breaks the truce and kills a human during daylight. The wolf takes Valerie’s sister, which makes it even worse on her.

The men put together a hunting party, but they don’t succeed and a death results. Into this scenario steps Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a man with some wolf-hunting experience. He warns of the impending “Blood Moon”, a rare event that will allow the wolf to pass on his curse and create a new werewolf. Solomon also tells them that the wolf doesn’t live in the forest – he or she walks among them, and we eventually learn that this person may boast a close relationship to Valerie a fact that places her in a precarious position.

On the surface, Hood looks like nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on the enduring popularity of the Twilight franchise. It takes a horror genre and spins it for the tween set with its young female lead and hunky suitors. Heck, it even plops Catherine Hardwicke – director of first Twilight - behind the camera, and Billy Burke plays substantial roles in both.

You know why Hood looks so much like an attempt to cash in on the Twilight craze? Because that’s all it is. The story clearly bears exceedingly little resemblance to Little Red Riding Hood. It takes a few plot points – a hood, a grandmother – and turns them into a combination of romance and action horror.

Kinda like Twilight, no? Yes, though I will admit Hood doesn’t emphasize romance as much as the Twilight films do. While it works around the love triangle of Valerie/Peter/Henry, it lacks the same real tension, mostly because Valerie only loves Peter; he’s her romantic link, while Henry’s just the safe choice.

Some may applaud the relative lack of romance compared to the Twilight flicks, but that change actually hurts Hood. We don’t ever really invest in the characters or situations, and the fact Valerie’s not torn between two lovers eliminates tension.

Even without the romantic twists, Hood lacks drama, partially because its title character doesn’t have much to do. A lot of the film leaves her on the sidelines, and even when she becomes a more important aspect of the plot down the road, she’s still passive. Valerie’s essentially a pawn in the search for the wolf, so she doesn’t make for a terribly interesting lead character. Heck, at least Twilight’s Bella occasionally takes charge, whereas Valerie just kind of mopes around for much of the film.

Not that I suspect Hood would work much better with a less superfluous Valerie. It suffers from basic flaws at the story level, mainly due to the ways it mucks up what could’ve been a decent supernatural action flick. I don’t think it should’ve literally adapted the source material, but the liberties go into such goofy ground that they make the movie hard to take.

Hood really does suffer from a melodramatic silliness at its core. We must suffer through bizarre anachronisms like a village festival at which Valerie and another girl bump ‘n’ grind to make Peter jealous, and the wolf’s telepathic bond with Valerie creates more unintentional laughs.

Since so much of the film’s attempted tension revolves around the identity of the wolf, that part of things needs to boast a good impact. It doesn’t. Instead, the movie relentlessly teases us with red herrings; by the time we find out who’s got the furry curse, we don’t care.

The movie’s only minor pleasures come from some supporting actors. Seyfried and her competing hunks are attractive but without much personality, unfortunately, so we have to look to others. Oldman camps it up a bit as Father Solomon, but he delivers much needed life to this stale tale, and Julie Christie creates a slippery take on the grandmother. Both make the movie a bit more watchable.

But just a bit. I’m no great fan of the Twilight movies, but at least they create a decent sense of their own universe and manage to provide moderately compelling characters. None of those factors emerge during this thin take on romantic horror.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Red Riding Hood appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not flawless, the image was usually very good.

Overall clarity looked fine. A few shots displayed a bit of softness, a fact exacerbated by some semi-gauzy photography. Nonetheless, the movie mostly provided solid definition and accuracy. I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws were also a non-factor in this clean presentation.

Colors remained stylized and opted for an amber tint. A few other tones emerged – mainly via the titular red cloak – but the golden side of things dominated. I thought the hues looked fine when I considered those choices. Blacks appeared deep and dense, and shadows demonstrated nice clarity and delineation. Only some occasional minor softness made this a “B+”, as the vast majority of the flick looked great.

I felt even more pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Hood. As befit an action movie, the soundscape offered a lot of vivid material. The wolf-oriented scenes delivered a good punch, as they used the various channels in an engrossing manner. Quieter sequences also satisfied, as they showed a nice sense of place. Music also fared as well, as both score and songs featured positive use of all the speakers.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was distinctive and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music boasted nice range and clarity, while effects offered solid accuracy and heft. Bass response was deep and full throughout the movie. All of this combined for an excellent soundtrack.

The Blu-ray comes with a fairly broad set of supplements. We find Both Theatrical and Alternate Cuts of the Film. The former runs 1:39:50, while the latter goes for 1:40:24. I only screened the theatrical edition, but I did watch the last few minutes of the Alternate Cut to see the “provocative alternate ending” it promises. The alternate ending adds a longer sex scene and a twist to the final image. Do these work better? Not really, but they’re not any worse, either.

The disc’s most substantial extra comes via Secrets Behind the Cloak, a picture-in-picture commentary. It includes notes from director Catherine Hardwicke and actors Amanda Seyfried, Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez. All four sit together for a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, effects, cast, characters and performances, stunts, music, and a few other areas.

Much of the picture-in-picture side of things focuses on shots of Hardwicke and the three actors. However, other elements appear as well. We see shots from the set, storyboards/art and interview remarks from Hardwicke, Seyfried, Irons, Fernandez, producer Jennifer Davisson Killoran, animal trainer Cherie Smid, costume illustrator Kit Stølen, production designer Tom Sanders, and actors Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Gary Oldman, Kacey Rohl, Jennifer Halley, Lukas Haas, Megan Charpentier, Dalila Bela, Cole Heppell, Julie Christie, Christine Willes, Adrian Holmes and Carmen Lavigne. They cover a wide mix of expected production topics like sets, locations, cast, characters and performances, costumes, effects, and the like.

The combination of commentary and PiP pieces makes “Cloak” pretty effective. The commentary parts sputter at times but give us some good data, and I like Irons’ dry wit. That discussion melds well with the PiP components, so we learn a lot about the movie throughout “Cloak”.

Four featurettes follow. The Reinvention of Red Riding Hood goes for five minutes, 25 seconds and includes material from Hardwicke, Seyfried, Irons, Fernandez, Oldman, Madsen, Killoran, Burke, Rohl, Hally, folklorist Catherine Orenstein, executive producer Michael Ireland, and writer David Leslie Johnson. “Reinvention” looks at the source story as well as how the movie updates it. Some of the notes about the original tale are interesting, but most of the show just acts as a promotional piece.

Next comes the three-minute, 18-second Red Riding Hood: Red’s Men. It provides notes from Seyfried, Rohl, Irons, Hardwicke, Halley, Fernandez, and Killoran. We learn about the casting and work of Irons and Fernandez. Essentially the piece tells us how attractive and awesome they are – don’t expect anything more substantial than that.

Red Riding Hood: Making of the Score lasts 10 minutes, 59 seconds and delivers remarks from Hardwicke, composer Alex Heffes and music supervisor/composer Brian Reitzell. They give us some notes about the instrumentation used for the movie’s score. This becomes one of the disc’s better programs, as it offers good details.

Finally, Before the Fur: Making of the CGI Wolf lasts a mere 40 seconds. It provides a narration-free montage that shows some of the elements that went into creating the movie’s beast. Some interesting shots appear, but the lack of commentary – and the extreme brevity – make it less useful.

After this we get a collection of Casting Tapes. With a total running time of seven minutes, 24 seconds, we find “Casting Shiloh Fernandez” (5:30), “Casting Max Irons” (1:22) and “Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons” (0:31). None become fascinating, but they do offer a fun glimpse at the casting process.

For more behind the scenes footage, we head to Rehearsals. These fill a total of five minutes, 52 seconds and show “The Dance” (1:46), “The Festival” (0:55), and “Wolf Attack” (3:11). Despite the split into three areas, all come from the same part of the film. They’re a decent way to see some practice material.

For something quirky, we get Red Riding Hood In 73 Seconds. Actually, it goes for 78 seconds as it shows fast montages and a few isolated short scenes. This might be the best way to watch Hood; it’s not more entertaining, but at least it’s over more quickly.

Four Deleted Scenes run a total of four minutes, 18 seconds. We get “Claude Finds Lucie” (1:24), “Valerie Remembers Lucie” (0:41), “Valerie and Grandmother” (1:42), and “Cesaire Imagines the Luxe Life” (0:31). Nothing vaguely interesting happens in these short, forgettable clips.

A Gag Reel goes for two minutes, 37 seconds. It provides the standard collection of mistakes and chuckles. No thanks!

Two music videos also appear. We find “The Wolf” from Fever Ray and “Just a Fragment of You” by Anthony Gonzalez and Brian Reitzell. The former shows up in the movie’s dance festival scene, and we see some of that in the video; it spreads to a broader film montage, though, and doesn’t include anything other than snippets from the movie. The song has some interesting sonic textures but the video’s a snoozer.

As for “Fragment”, it’s not as compelling a song. It’s light borderline New Age music, and the video is another dull one, as it just shows more bits from the movie.

At least one Easter Egg shows up on the disc. If you click to the right of “Music Videos” and hit enter, you can watch an “audition” from the wolf. It’s cute but not especially funnt.

The disc opens with an ad for Something Borrowed. No trailer for Hood appears here.

A second platter provides both a digital copy of Hood for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This delivers a barebones package, so don’t expect any extras.

Red Riding Hood delivers a Twilight-style take on its fairy tale roots, though not in a satisfying way. Instead, the movie seems silly and without much drama or fun to be found. The Blu-ray gives us very good picture and audio along with a useful roster of supplements. Maybe someone else can find something satisfying in this misbegotten fantasy, but I can’t.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main