Red Riding Hood (Alternate Cut) (2011) 
Blu-ray Sci-Fi-Fantasy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Wednesday, 15 June 2011

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"Oh my, grandmother what big teeth you have."  "Red Riding Hood" is extremely loosely based on the classic tale of little red riding hood.  And when I say extremely loosely based, that is an understatement.  Take away the red cloak and the grandmother and all we have is a "Twilight" spin-off about a village being attacked by a werewolf.

This isn't surprising given that the film is directed by "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke.  "Red Riding Hood" fails so miserably it is hard to see how it was ever released.  The story was an easy pitch to the studio I'm sure.  But, where this film fails is its story, the writing, the casting, the acting and everything in between.

If there is any saving grace to the film it would have to be Amanda Seyfried.  She is one of the more talented young actors of today.  She makes the best of what she has to work with.  The other actors in the film are overly dramatic and contrite, simply due to the poorly written script.  The characters are empty, only following a few backstory elements that the filmmakers make to apparent all too soon in the film.

"Red Riding Hood" is a whodunit film.  A werewolf breaks peace in a mountain village after twenty years by killing a young woman.  The townspeople, or really just the men, set out on a quest for revenge.  The women are meek and sulk in their own solace.  Amanda Seyfried is well poised and the star of an otherwise bleak film.

Seyfried deals with the loss of her sister, a choice between two lovers, betrayal of friends and a deep connection with the wolf.

The film makes every single character as suspect at one time or another.  It becomes extremely exhausting very quickly.  The film really needed to just pick a few characters as suspects and focus on them.  Not that it would make any difference because the filmmakers let slip the identity of the werewolf about 15 minutes into the film.  Perhaps for those that don't watch as many films as I do it might just pass unnoticed.  But as far as I am concerned it was as plain as daylight in this dark film.

Gary Oldman portrays Father Solomon a seasoned witch and werewolf hunter.  If you want a great example of over acting, then this is it.  As I mentioned earlier it is not the fault of Oldman, he did the best he could with a character that is so one-dimensional.

It is clear that even the filmmakers didn't k now where to go with the end of the film as there is an alternate ending present on the Blu-ray.  Can anyone name one classic film that has had an alternate ending.  No.  The only reason alternate endings exist is because filmmakers and studios realize how horrible a film is at the end.

This is another film will potential wasted.  There is nothing to care about in this film.  The end is predictable and there are no characters in which to root for.  The entire village could die and the audience wouldn't feel a thing.

On the plus side, "Red Riding Hood" comes to Blu-ray with a lovely video transfer.  The black levels are inky, though shadow delineation is a bit of a hit or miss.  Crush also occurs intermittently.  The other downfall to the transfer is the appearance of banding and circles around the practicals.   Aside form that, the colors are nicely saturated when need be.  The fleshtones remain accurate throughout.  The original photography is intended to be soft so that is not the fault of the transfer.  Details and textures are nicely resolved.  Overall, "Red Riding Hood" provides a pleasant viewing experience.

Surpassing the video quality is that of the audio.  The film comes to Blu-ray with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track that delights all around.  The surround channels can be a bit light at times, but more often than not they provide an enveloping quality.  The vicious attacks on the village result in the most explosive surround activity.  Panning and directionality is quick but accurate for the most part.  The LFE channel doesn't get as much use as it probably should, but it does lend nice low frequency support.  The dialogue is centered and intelligible.  Dynamics are pleasing.  By far this is the best aspect of the whole release.  Shut your eyes and just listen to the film and you will probably have a better experience than trying to watch it.

This Blu-ray release contains an alternate cut, which is a mere 34 seconds longer than the theatrical.  Good luck on finding the differences between the two cuts.  "Secrets Behind The Red Cloak" is a picture-in-picture commentary with Hardwicke, Seyfriend and Max Irons.  This is an awkward commentary to say the least.  I believe even real fans of the film will be horrified with the PiP.  "Behind The Story" contains a selection of featurettes about the casting process and adaptation of the classic tale.  Lastly there are weak deleted scenes, a gag reel and a couple music videos.  A DVD/Digital Copy disc is also included in the package.

"Red Riding Hood" is plagued with problems, but the audio and video qualities can be appreciated.  Still I would be hard-pressed to really recommend this title.  Take a risk if you dare.
Studio Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Max Irons, Lukas Haas
Director Catherine Hardwicke
Film Release Year 2011
Release Year 2011
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Running Time 1 hr. 40 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features Picture-In-Picture Commentary; "Behind The Story" featurettes; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; Music Videos; DVD/Digital Copy
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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