Saturday, March 26, 2011

What an epic shitfest...

Disclaimer: Okay, kids. If anyone has any plans to see Red Riding Hood, I recommend you turn away now. Cos I'm gonna give away the entire plot...

So last night, I went to my housemate's birthday drinks at a bar/restaurant in the city. Well...*I* would call it the city. According to Canberra, it's in a different suburb to the city, even though it's a five minute walk from the dead centre of town. Anynobodygivesashit, I drank a pint of pear cider in about 15 minutes on an empty stomach and had a very nutritious dinner of beer battered steak fries with tomato relish and sour cream, and bruschetta. What's that? Oh, my plan to lose 2 kilos by my birthday is going swimmingly, thanks for asking.

So after that very healthy dinner, I wandered into town to meet up with Laura for the movie. I'd pretty much abandoned all hope for the movie when I read that it was directed by Catherine Hardwicke of Twilight Twishite fame. And within the first 30 seconds of the movie, it was really obvious that she was behind it. Long sweeping panoramas of Twilight-esque forests (intersected with shots of random castles in an attempt to indicate that the setting was Germany. Although there were subsequent things that suggested to me that it was Scandinavia not Germany...) and music that was supposed to sound haunting. What I *wasn't* expecting was to see that this guy was one of the producers.
Seriously, Leo? I mean, you've done some epic shit in your time (Titanic for one, in my opinion), but associating yourself with this? Fail...

So the basic story is that Bella Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is trapped in a love triangle. She's in love with the poor woodcutter, Jacob Peter (Shiloh Fernandez, who was actually on the short list for the role of Edward Cullen), and has been since she was a kid. But her parents want her to marry the rich blacksmith (apparently blacksmithing pays really well? I got nothing. But everyone keeps going on about how rich he is), Edward Henry (Max Irons, son of Jeremy), who not only looks like Edward Cullen, but appears to be wearing Edward Cullen's leftover contact lenses. See?

Their village is plagued by a werewolf, which for years has been kept placated by offerings of livestock every full moon. But one night, it kills Valerie's older sister. The men of the village hunt the wolf to its cave in the mountains, where Henry's father is killed. They return home with the head of the wolf on a pike, only to have evil beasties hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) turn up and be all "Dudes, that's not a werewolf. That's just a regular wolf. And I'd totally know, cos my best friend is a werewolf and I'm an Animagus and spent every full moon for years making sure he didn't kill people wife turned out to be a werewolf and I had to kill her. See? Here's her hand in a box." (SERIOUSLY). He then explains that it's a dangerous time because there's a blood moon (aka Mars is between the sun and the earth, making the moon appear red.) And a blood moon is the only time the werewolf can create another wolf. At any other time, the bite is just a bite. But during the blood moon, if you get bitten, you're all kinds of fucked. Also, Father Solomon sports some seriously creepy silver fingernails (check out his third and fourth fingernails below) for the killing of werewolves:
Anyway, the villagers are all "Whatevs. We're holding a dance to celebrate killing the wolf." Peter tries to make Valerie jealous by dancing with one of her friends, so she grabs her friend and skanks up the dance floor in return. Then Peter and Henry get in a fight. Then Peter and Valerie almost bump uglies in the granary. Then the wolf arrives and goes batshit crazy, killing a bunch of people. Valerie and her Ginger BFF run from the wolf but then get cornered by it. The wolf can apparently speak to Valerie telepathically, and it's all "I know this village blows. Come away with me and I'll spare everyone." She's all "WTF, dude. You're a TALKING WOLF. Ooooh, and you have BROWN EYES. CLUE!!!!"

Anyway, the wolf eventually leaves when some of Sirius Black Father Solomon's soldiers turn up and Valerie's all "Ginger BFF, please don't tell people I could talk to the wolf, they'll think I'm a witch.", and the Ginger BFF is all "No worries, dawg, I got your back!" Until Father Solomon decides to torture her brother, who's got some kind of a developmental disorder, by locking him in a giant metal elephant and lighting a fire under it. Then the Ginger BFF is all "Release my brother and I'll give you the name of a witch", and Valerie gets clapped in irons. Oh, and she also discovers that EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING VILLAGE EXCEPT HER HAS BROWN EYES. Yeah...

At some point in there, her grandmother (Julie Christie), who lives in the woods outside the village, has dreadlocks and totally looks like she's escaped from a hippy commune in California presents her with a red cloak (which, as always, makes no sense to me because in medieval times, only prostitutes wore red - "Here, dear. Isn't it pretty? It'll make you look like a whore") as an early wedding present. Here's Hippy Granny:
Father Solomon, who's already proved himself to be batshit crazy by the carrying around of his dead wife's hand, the torture of the Ginger BFF's brother and the fact that he killed one of his own soldiers after he got bitten by the wolf, decides that he's going to set a trap. So he chains her to the sacrificial altar wearing a metal mask shaped like a pig head. I have no idea why. Her incredibly boring love interests band together to free her by setting fire to a whole lot of stuff and using the smoke as a cover. But Father Solomon busts them. Peter gets himself locked in the giant metal elephant, and Henry gets an arrow in the shoulder while he and Valerie are running for the safety of the church. Cos werewolves can't step on consecrated ground, apparently.

Blah blah, the wolf turns up and kills more people. The wolf also bites off Gary Oldman's hand and one of his own soldiers is all "Ha ha, you got bitten by the wolf. Time to die, douchebag." (I totally expected him to skip around singing "I killed Sirius Black" when he did) The wolf tries to get to Valerie by stepping onto consecrated ground and burns his paw before running off cos the sun's rising. So now she's on the look out for someone with a burnt hand. Then she has a dream with the whole "Grandmother, what big teeth you have" thing in it, and runs off to her grandmother's house because *clearly* that means her grandmother's in danger. On the way there, she runs into Peter, who's been missing since the second wolf attack. He's got a glove on and asks her to run away with him, and she's all "OMG, YOU'RE THE WOLF" and stabs him.

She gets to her grandmother's house, and her dad (played by Billy Burke of Twishite fame) is there. He's all "Oh, hey, kid. I'm the werewolf and I killed your grandma. And your sister. And half the village. Whoops!" He then does the stereotypical explain-my-motives thing that movie villains ALWAYS do. This gives Peter (stab wound and all) enough time to turn up and threaten him with an axe. Cos he's a woodcutter, so he carries an axe everywhere. Of course... Sheriff Swan Whatshisname attacks Peter, until Valerie's all "Hey, dad. I've got a present for you" and is standing by the door all innocent like, holding her basket. This gives Peter a chance to THROW HIS AXE INTO THE DAD'S BACK. At which point Valerie pulls GARY OLDMAN'S SEVERED HAND OUT OF HER BASKET and stabs her dad with the hand's creepy silver fingernails.

But of course, that can't possibly be the end. No, no. The dad somehow bit Peter, so now he's going to be a werewolf. But instead of killing himself to protect the village from the curse, he's all "I'm going to go away for a while until I can control myself." and she's all "I'll wait for you." They cut the dad open and fill his body with rocks (which, ew) and dump it into the river. Peter leaves and Valerie moves into her grandmother's creepy house in the woods to wait for him to come back. And Henry decides to take over Gary Oldman's kill-the-evil-beasties squad. Cos you can TOTALLY trust guys who've shot you with a crossbow...

Ahem. So obviously, the plot is a trainwreck. And the script is awful. Cheesy lines abound throughout, and on several occasions, I went "OH COME ON!!" at the screen. It snows constantly, and yet Valerie wanders around in a thin cotton dress, occasionally with short sleeves. Unfortunately for you, this was the only picture of her wearing short sleeves that I could find:
(This is the beginning of the aforementioned almost-bumping-uglies-in-the-granary scene.) Max Irons really does look like he's wearing Edward Cullen's leftover contact lenses, and he acts about as well as Robert Pattinson. Shiloh Fernandez has a permanent sneer on his face:

The acting (with a couple of exceptions) was wooden. The final reveal on who the wolf is was anticlimactic because they'd done so many red herrings with so many different characters (except that one) that I was sick of the whole thing. And the CGI for the wolf is pretty terrible. The only redeeming feature was, as always, Gary Oldman, who's not afraid to go "You know what? This is a piece of shit. But I'm gonna embrace the fact that it's really awful and just roll with it!" Basically, I spent most of the movie wishing that the wolf would eat the three main characters to save me from the torment. There were several moments where half the audience laughed and then simultaneously realised that they were serious. (Or Sirius, depending who was on screen...) Plus, I never really understood why the entire population of the village didn't just go "Okay, I'm sick of losing all my best livestock to a wolf. Let's get the hell out of this dump." They had a budget (apparently) of $42,000,000. God only knows where it went...

I know some people liked it. There are a bunch of reviews on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes going "I don't get why people think it's rubbish, I thought it was AMAZEBALLS". But I've got no fucking clue what movie they were watching. I give it 2/10. And one of those is because of Gary Oldman... Basically (at the end of this thesis length post)? Save your money and rent it when it's a weekly release...

K xx


  1. Orlando Bloom was a blacksmith in Pirates.... I guess things are different in Germany than the Caribbean.

  2. Right?! Will Turner wasn't rich. Although maybe if he was in love with a woodcutter's daughter it would be different?

    I'm going to just pretend that Max Irons didn't sully the good name of cinematic blacksmiths in this piece of crap...

  3. I think this has been the best movie review I have read in ages!! I was smiling throughout the post! :D Wasn't planning on watching this movie anyway...and don't think I'll be renting it either!


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