Tuesday, August 9, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 – A Sequel/Remake/Reboot that Wasn’t Worth the Celluloid it Was Filmed On

I so desperately wanted to write about Heathcliff: a musical remake of Wuthering Heights. But then I remembered, through my hate driven narrative, Heathcliff is a filmed stage musical, not a movie. Damn it. I do not feel such hatred towards any other remake...or sequel...or reboot as I do towards that festering abomination. But rulz is rulz.

Red Riding Hood (2011)

The public domain fairy tale is subject to much remaking, retooling, and reimagining. Everyone knows the story of the girl in the red cape sent to her granny's house who is subsequently tricked by a cross-dressing wolf. And everyone's tired of it. To appeal to today's teenager, that story needs a complete overhaul--Tim Burtonesque edginess, sexual tension, and an unnecessary love triangle.

For all those things to work, Red Riding Hood needs to be not so Little. Teenager Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) lives on the edge of the deep, dark forest with her father Cesaire (Billy Burke), her mother Suzette (Virginia Madsen), and her not-as-attractive-as-Amanda Seyfried sister Lucie (Alexandria Malliot). Since childhood, Valerie has been in lurve with the humble (but dangerous and sexy) woodcutter, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but her parents want her to marry Henry (Max Irons) the son of a wealthy blacksmith. In the nearby village of Daggerhorn, all hell breaks loose when The Wolf murders its first human in years: Lucie. The town is sent into a frenzy to discover who the wolf is and many suspect Peter.

Also, Valerie's grandmother (Julie Christie) gives her a red cape.

With only a few plot elements--the titular riding hood, the wolf, the grandmother--the film should not have the right to call itself "Red Riding Hood". This film is merely a wolf in Twilight's clothing.

And here we go. Twilight: the whole reason for this movie's existence. Vampires are everywhere (or were? Is is dying down yet?) but what about all those on Team Jacob? How can those werewolf fans get their fix? I can only surmise that studio execs happened to remember that Little Red Riding Hood had a wolf in it and perhaps if they aged the heroine, they could make the wolf broodingly sexy. It practically writes itself! And what about that chick that directed the first Twilight movie? She's not doing anything, let's get her to helm this thing!

To make the film more "Twilighty", a love triangle is thrown in...kinda. In the first five minutes, we learn of Valerie and Peter's love, true and unwavering. Then we learn she is promised to kind and rich, but boring, Henry. (Because you can never have a wealthy, interesting fiancee in these things. Young girls must learn principles. Life will be difficult in your crumbling little cottage, with five bairns clamoring at your apron strings. To escape life, you husband may drink a little too much ale and spend a little too much time  at the tavern with those lusty wenches. But it's okay. You did the right thing. You married for love...or that twitching in between your legs you thought was love...I digress.) 

As an audience, we're supposed to like Peter more because THAT'S WHO VALERIE LIKES MORE. Never does she show an interest in Henry. Never. There is no conflict. Valerie never has a moment of "Oh no, I thought I loved Peter, so why am I having these stirrings towards Henry?" And so what if Peter might be the wolf? It makes him all the more sexy and appealing. There is no choice to be made here. If you ask me, they're both boring. They look the same too.

So when I say Red Riding Hood is a remake not worth the celluloid it was filmed on, I don't mean it's an outright oozing pimple on the face of cinema. It's more like a freckle; millions just like it with nothing to set it aside from the other live action "gritty" fairy tale remakes. It's a waste of time, without even a sex scene or gory death to recommend it.

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