Red Riding Hood (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’ve often said that new movies come in one of three genres: a re-make of an old TV show or movie, adapted from a comic book or graphic novel and then you’ve got the bona fide films out there. “Red Riding Hood” falls into the second of these two genres in that it’s a story we all know, but it’s really been more of a fairy tale as opposed to something that’s stood on their own. Now we all know the story of little Red Riding Hood on her way to grandmother’s house and the big bad wolf, etc. This version is a bit modernized and with director Catherine Hardwicke attached, there was no telling how this would fare. Hardwicke is still riding high from her “Twilight” days and I’m sure it was easy for her to name her next project. Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman are certainly two of my favorites, but could it all work here? Let’s find out.

We meet Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) as she’s set to run away with childhood crush Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) which would work out fine and good, but Valerie’s sister is killed by what the locals think is a werewolf. The locals get together in a mob of some sort, complete with pitchforks (this is right out of “The Simpson’s” by the way) all set to go kill the werewolf. Well, a wolf they catch but unless this movie is 20 minutes long, we know it ain’t over. Then arrives Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) who tells the villagers what’s really going on and that only he can save the day. Naturally we know that Solomon is a master at what he does with his locks flowing and scary entourage. But it’s Valerie that shares the emotional connection with the “Big Bad Wolf.” Who’s going to win: the village or the wolf? Hmmm…

“Red Riding Hood” was critically panned when it arrived earlier this spring, but I’m always one for giving movies a chance. I mean, there’s got to be some artistic value there, right? There’s not much. Despite being fairly cheesy and predictable, the movie just seemed to be a series of scenes loosely stitched together as opposed to a fluid plot. As I mentioned before, I’m always a big fan of both Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, but both somewhat fall flat here. I’m constantly amazed at how much of a chameleon Oldman is – looking so different from role to role. However even sporting his “Sirius Black” look didn’t really save him here. Certainly there’s a bit of style here with the shots, but even they seemed somewhat forced. “Red Riding Hood” is one that you probably should pass on and one that I wish I did as well.

Video: How does it look?

If you can separate yourself from the plot (or lack thereof), then you’ll see that “Red Riding Hood” looks pretty darn good in its 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer. This new to Blu-ray film sports some pretty breathtaking visuals due in no small part to the CGI. Detail is amazing, showing the tiniest bit of grain. Seyfried’s big eyes are noticeable and her porcelain skin appears as if you could reach out and touch it. This is a darker movie, so there are a number of scenes at night. Black levels are strong and consistent and contrast is fine as well. There are a few stark scenes that seem a bit blown out, but by and large this is one fine-looking disc.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack does a fine job here, with a very instrumental score that carries the film throughout. As we might expect, there are plenty of opportunities for the LFE to shine and both the front and rear speakers get involved in the action. The wolf certainly has an audio presence and does add a bit of intensity to some of the scenes. Dialogue, if you don’t actually listen to the words, sounds full and rich as well. This is a very robust track that is indicative of the genre and a fine asset on Blu-ray.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The Blu-ray reviwed here is the Combo pack with a DVD of the film as well as a Digital Copy. We also get the “Unrated” cut which is about a minute more of footage. We do get a picture-in-picture commentary track with Hardwicke, Seyfried, Fernandez and more. Hardwicke and Seyfried lead the way, but we don’t get a lot of technical information about the shoot and so forth. This one is for hard core fans only. “Behind the Story” features a bevy of featurettes about the making of the film. We get a look at the score as well as “Red’s Men”, a featurette about the male protagonists of the film. We do get a very interesting look at the CGI process in “Before the Fur…Making the CGI Wolf” in which we see the process of making this creature come to life. We get a look at some casting tapes, some deleted scenes, outtakes and a few music videos. Ironically enough we get “Red Riding Hood in 73 Seconds” which is a much better version of the film. And it saves you a couple hours as well.

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