Listen to our Red Riding Hood episode on:
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When it came to selecting films from this Halloween season, including a version of the Red Riding Hood story was kind of a no-brainer. We could have gone with Neil Jordan’s dreamy gothic The Company of Wolves, Rob Marshall’s big-screen adaptation of Into The Woods or even that low-budget kids version starring a very young Henry Cavill…
But when we remembered that there was a pulpy teen romance version directed by Twilight’s Catherine Hardwicke and featuring Gary Oldman as a mad wolf slayer, nothing else was even in contention. Unfortunately despite these promising elements, Red Riding Hood isn’t quite as much silly fun as we hoped it would be.
It’s certainly watchable – we were particularly fascinated by Oldman’s fabulously impractical use of a 15ft metal elephant as a means of extracting information, the bizarrely cheap looking sets and the genuinely terrible camera work. But this version of Red Riding Hood defaults too easily to the Twilight formula of a headstrong heroine torn between two generically moody love interests – whose only distinguishing features are their jobs and the fact that one of them may or may not secretly be a murderous werewolf.
Even Oldman feels like he’s phoning it in a bit, delivering at reliably high volume but with fewer of the gleefully batshit character details he usually throws into his pulpier roles. Frankly, an Oldman performance that doesn’t feature him seductively manhandling a CGI slug while adopting a broad Texas drawl is instantly a waste of his talents.
With many of the other principals operating at disappointingly low energy levels, it falls to the great Julie Christie to almost steal the show – mostly by seeming to be the only one who understands the kind of movie she’s in. Her first clue was probably when she realised that the “all the better to see you with” speech had actually made it to the final script. She delivers it with exactly the no-fucks-given relish you’d hope, and it is, frankly, the highlight of the entire movie,
To mitigate our general apathy towards this film, we thought we’d shake things up a bit with our sequel ideas by switching around our ideas. So in this episode, John recites Harry’s pitch, and vice versa. Find out whether the experiment paid off by downloading or streaming the episode right now using any of the links at the top of this blog post – or by searching for Beyond The Box Set on your preferred Podcatcher.
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Next week, we conclude our Halloween ‘Season of the Wolf’ with a movie star who’s spent much of his career looking like he’s in the middle of a lupine transformation. Until then, happy listening and stay out of the forest on a full moon!