Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Riding Hood ...The Twilight Treatment??

 Believe the Legend.  Beware the Wolf.   ...... I'm afraid.  I'm very afraid!

If I told you that Catherine Hardwicke directed a Gothish movie about a teenage girl whose raging hormones get her mixed up with a violent werewolf ~ man,  you’d probably say,  “that’s not news.  Twilight already happened and I refuse to see it, unless it comes on HBO or something, where I’d watch it for, like, 20 minutes or so and then decide it’s terrible.”     And you wouldn't be altogether wrong.   Well,  watch the trailer below .... For Friday Film this week looks to the Future .....  March 11th to be exact, when the new remake  “Red Riding Hood” will bare its fangs.

After watching the new trailer for Red Riding Hood, the film doesn’t just seem reminiscent of Twilight.  It is Twilight!!   The black and white backgrounds with red text,  teens having sex or not having sex,  a nd getting violent with each other.   Mythical monsters, desaturated colours with a lot of slow-motion hand held camera panning,  two men our heroine must choose between  …  If Edward Cullen pops in to tie the universes together,  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.  And that makes me very, very afraid ......  I’ll take the old cartoon version where Red Riding Hood is hot, but not in a pedophiliac way.  The wolves are way, way  awesomer too ..... or Irish Director Neil Jordan's superb offering  'The Company of Wolves'.

 Catherine Hardwicke is totally on "Teen"  team form,  & not just with those aerial shots totally lifted from “Twilight.”  Her new film, “Red Riding Hood,”  which stars Amanda Seyfried,  Lukas Haas and Gary Oldman,  seems to be set in a Medieval village (though indeterminate time and place might be more accurate).  What is determinable is that a young woman falls in love with someone she’s not supposed to.  Meanwhile, a werewolf torments the village.  Cue dramatic music!  While the Grimm brothers' fairy tale has often been read as a metaphor for burgeoning sexuality,  the original crafters of the legend may not have imagined it quite so … tweeny!!    In an interview with MTV,  Seyfried said that “Hardwicke has just completely turned this story into something edgy and gothic and dark.”    I'm afraid it's not & the only dark thing I'm reminded of is a similar interview with  M. Night Shyamalan touting  his terrifying 'horror' helping, "The Village".   This preceeded Twilight to the Toilet!

The director of "Red Riding Hood"  Catherine Hardwicke  was fired at worst,  or at best definitely not re-hired after she shot the first installment of the world's most profitable sparkly vampire franchise.    What might be surprising, though,  it is that the idea for an amped-up fairy tale bursting with adolescent angst didn't come from her.   Instead, it came from Leonardo DiCaprio.   Fear is rising .......

According to Hardwicke, who was recently interviewed for the Los Angeles Times,  DiCaprio thought, "Wouldn’t it be cool to do a Gothic twist on Red Riding Hood, with the wolf being a werewolf, and just have a cool, sexy romantic thriller?"  Soon his company,   Appian Way, began to develop the idea.  

It opens with Amanda Seyfried gamboling in an autumnal glade with a handsome young suitor, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), who sports an anachronistic faux-hawk.   As they embrace, we hear Seyfried say, "I’ll do anything to be with you."  And then, suddenly, the trailer makes a left turn into Gothic!   There’s talk of killer wolves, there’s foreboding music, there’s Gary Oldman.

From what I can piece together, Amanda ~ or Valerie ~  is in love with Peter though she's betrothed to Henri (Max Irons), another handsome young suitor in a faux-hawk. Someone in the village is a lupine supernatural killer, but, in spite of Oldman's glowering looks, no one is revealing anything.  Somewhere along the lines, Seyfried dons her red cloak and goes to grandmother's house.

Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon’s arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. As panic grips the town, Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast ~ one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait.  Aaaaaah ..... the 'Twilight' story that never was!!!

 Catherine Hardwicke may not have really been given the chance to play with werewolves in the Twilight series,  but she’s done the next best thing .... she’s directed Red Riding Hood,  which sadly, if predictably,  looks to be going for tone and content that is Twilight.   Is this a hunger for Revenge too ..... Red Revenge????

 I don't begrudge Ms. Hardwicke finding something she likes and sticking with it, but this really does, with all the fast-sweeping mountain landscapes and dark emo rock, seem basically like period Twilight in a way that's both sad & laughable. Though it's of course possible,  maybe likely even, that some savvy trailer editor did this on purpose and that the actual film is quite different.  Quite different except that it's about a young girl in dangerous love, torn between two boys, while a supernatural menace prowls the hilly, forested nearby countryside. And Billy Burke's in it. Other than that, it's probably a totally different movie.  Maybe ..... or maybe this is just another tween tentpole? 

Watching the trailer below,  it's pretty hard to ignore the similarities.   Or the comparisons that have flown faster than a vampire hunting Bella's blood.  At first blush,  these comparisons seemed unoriginal and a silly bit of pandering to "Twilight"'s rabid fanbase.   But now .... even thematically, "Red Riding Hood" relies on similar elements ~  a love triangle,  supernatural occurrences and grisly murders,  just to name a few.  But that's the purview of the screenwriter.  What's all Catherine is the teaser's visual elements, and here, even more so than in the plot, this film reeks of "Twilight."     What big eyes you have Grandma.    No, it isn't your grandmother's "Little Red Riding Hood."   The innocent little hooded one is a teenager now in a stylish red cape.   Maybe  it will speak to the 13-year-old girl inside of you.  Maybe that's all it was ever meant to do!!

But as pluses, Red Riding Hood does have something  Twilight never had ..... it has Gary Oldman and Lucas Haas, even though Haas' role seems to be made up of simply peering out from behind doors.    So, what am I really, really afraid of ..... I'm afraid that Red Riding hood will do to my favourite tales what Twilight did to the Vampire genres.  That is divest them of the Vampireness or Vampirity, or whatever.  Twilight changed the genres by replacing monstrous bloodsucking murderering mauraders with 'vegetarian' non human eating Emo high school kids.  Who Sparkled.   Tell me, isn't sucking the life force of human blood what makes a Vampire a Vampire????  A whole generation now has a perverted view of Vampyr.  Hardwicke has sucked the Vampiric life force away.   Will this new movie purge the Grim from the brothers Grimm??  That is my fear!!!

 Believe the Legend.  Beware the Wolf!

1 comment:

  1. If they want a good movie they should make it plain and simple. If they want to pander to those who watch reality shows then this version seems perfect for that audience.
    The most recent werewolf movie I saw was "The Wolfman", the 2010 version and it was nothing short of perfect. I consider it the 1992 Bram Stokers Dracula of werewolf movies.
    What they have done with Twighlight and yes, from the trailer tis version of Red Riding Hood was nothing short of make it specifically for those who induldge in reality tv or Nickelodeon.