Meann came through for me once again and got me tickets to the premiere of “Red Riding Hood” last night.
As everybody knows, I’ve been ready to watch this movie since I finished reading the novelization written by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright (review here). After all, the book promised a lot — from metaphorical mallet blow jobs to sweaty shirtlessness — and since the book is based on the script, I was ready to view the book’s innuendo-laden scenarios projected onto the silver screen.
And…well, something else happened.
I think the movie wrong-footed itself immediately by beginning with such a different focus than the book. Blakley-Cartwright’s novel begins with Valerie’s first encounter with the Wolf, and for me it really set the tone and direction of the book. There’s a sense of danger and foreboding all throughout the narrative, mainly because Blakley-Cartwright has established the presence of the Wolf so early on and then proceeds to keep it in the shadows for almost half of the book.
The movie’s decision of choosing Valerie and Peter’s twu wuv as its focus rather than the more compelling mystery of the Wolf made it that much more difficult for me to feel any trepidation when it finally came around to the big Wolf reveal. I never felt that there was something dangerous in the shadows waiting to get me.
It’s a good thing that
Count Dracula Sirius Black Commissioner Gordon Gary Oldman steps in halfway into the movie and gives the proceedings a much needed shot of energy. Oldman, of course, is great as the unyielding Wolf Hunter Father Solomon, and brings a tension that livens up the film. Although there were moments in the film where I felt he was slipping back into his old Transylvanian accent from the 1992 film.
From there, the movie moves along happily to finally reveal the identity of the Wolf…and boy was I surprised. The movie makes a respectable enough job of tying all the loose ends to make the reveal plausible, and I for one was satisfied.
HOWEVER, the movie suddenly goes off the rails after the big reveal. I personally blame it on twu wuv — the ending dovetails neatly with the beginning. The only problem is that the beginning wasn’t exactly the best part of the movie.
But perhaps the most grievous thing that the movie did was the fact that IT HAD NO SWEATY SHIRTLESSNESS. No muscles were torquing during the woodcutting scenes, and Henry Lazar was certainly wearing too many clothes when Valerie chanced upon him in the forge. I’m pretty sure Baby Jesus cried for this.
While I didn’t come out of the theater hating the movie, I did feel like it could have been so much more. I certainly wouldn’t feel bad about recommending it to other people, but it’s not something I would consider a must-see.
Now for some shirtlessness.