Red Riding Hood’s formula is tween gold

Catherine Hardwicke decided to bank on the for-sure money-making demographic: tweens, and direct the new film, RED RIDING HOOD, starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman. Hardwicke hit the jackpot with TWILIGHT, the first film of the hit saga. But for No. 2 in the series, she was replaced with director Chris Weitz (seemingly because he knew how to work CG animals, i.e. his polar bears in GOLDEN COMPASS. Note for non-Twilighters: NEW MOON features werewolves!)

RED RIDING HOOD

I wondered if as an added “sock it to the studio that dumped me,” she picked RED RIDING HOOD to direct so she could show just how well she’d pull off the effects for a big, bad wolf. And…she did an OK job. (They still weren’t as good as NEW MOON’s, sorry Catherine.)

That aside, the movie was exactly what might appeal to those trying to gain from TWILIGHT-mania overflow: a love triangle, little adventure, lots of fantasy. It takes place during an ambiguous time period that “could be” post-apocolyptic or hundreds of years ago. (For director Hardwicke, this might have been an afterthought/easy explanation for granny wearing dreadlocks and a headscarf in the movie.)

It wasn’t much of a film. I had fun playing the guessing game, and Hardwicke obviously had fun bouncing suspicion among characters. Gary Oldman can’t really do period pieces anymore, Virginia Madsen takes a huge step down from her Oscar-nominated days and  we’re introduced to two new budding heart-throbs: Shiloh Fernandez (the bad boy) and Max Irons (the one your mom likes).

Not surprisingly, the ending kept it open for a sequel, which I’m sure would be right up director Hardwicke’s alley, prime for her wallet, and would show those big, bad execs at Summit Entertainment that she can handle directing a saga.

Here’s the trailer.

Just to spread the love, this song stuck in my head while I wrote. Hope you enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JOwxnVoG6Q