The Terrifying Tale of “The Brave Little Movie Critic”
Once upon a time there was a brave, little movie critic who ventured alone into the deep, dark Cineplex. He was lured there by the prospects of seeing a classic fairy tale retold with a stylish, modern twist. Lo, for what he found instead was the bland, silly and utterly lifeless “Red Riding Hood.”
Our brave, little movie critic initially felt hopeful at the prospects of a tweaking of the original tale. Sadly such stories exist in the public domain and are free to fall into the clutches of wicked studio executives who are obligated to pay no one for their rights and use them to turn a quick buck.
It was this last little tidbit that should have alerted our hero to leave a trail of heavily-buttered popcorn kernels behind him to facilitate a hasty escape.
Alas, he was none the wiser when he took his seat and the film unspooled before him. At first all appeared to be in order as the camera swept over a vaguely-European, Medieval village to meet up with the charming and buxom Red Riding Hood (boasting the Christian name of Valerie) played by the generally agreeable Amanda Seyfried.
The plot unfolded acceptably enough as the town is terrorized by the specter of a big, bad wolf who one day decides to attack and kill Valerie’s sister.
Our brave, little movie critic was even heartened at the appearance of the beloved Gary Oldman who (almost) makes any movie better just by showing up.
Alas, it quickly became apparent that “Red Riding Hood” was beyond saving even as Oldman’s Father Soloman warns the townsfolk that it is no normal wolf that stalks them, but is instead a werewolf that lives in their village.
Against this backdrop of a flawed who-done-it, a clunky love-triangle develops between Valerie, her betrothed and bland blacksmith Henry (Max Irons) and bad-boy, tree cutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).
The brave, little movie critic cast the blame for this debacle at the feet of director Catherine Harwicke, who also brought the pox of “Twilight” upon the world. Here she manages to conjure up an even shallower attempt to loosen the pocketbooks of 14-year-old girls by favoring style over substance and hunky boys staring dreamily into the camera over any trace of actual relationships.
It was then that our brave, little movie critic had enough and stood and shouted into the darkness, “’Red Riding Hood,’ what horrible plotting you have.”
“The better to bore you with, my dear,” it replied.
The brave, little movie critic tried again. “’Red Riding Hood,’ what brutally stilted and unnatural dialogue you have.”
“The better to make you squirm uncomfortably in your seat with, my dear,” it replied.
“’Red Riding Hood,’ what awkward performances you have,” said the brave, little movie critic.
“The better to destroy the careers of well-respected actors with, my dear,” it said.
And with that our brave, little movie critic could only hope for a woodsman to arrive to chop an escape-hole through the back of the theater.
Alas, our hero was forced to endure through the goofy conclusion, left only to run out into the streets warning away others from wasting their hard-earned shekels on such a hallow film and pleading with the heavens for two hours of his life back.
“Red Riding Hood” is rated PG-13 for violence and creature terror and some sensuality.