Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How I Know "Red Riding Hood" Will Suck Based on the Poster Alone

I don't know if you've seen this little beauty in the cineplex around town. I have, and it enrages me every time I walk by it. Why? What causes this near-embolism every time I glance up at this corporate misstep? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's break it down.

Our first red flag (heh) is the scrawl at the top: "From the Director of Twilight." Fucking fantastic. Somewhere along the line, legions of teenage girls convinced this woman and the movie studio behind her that she had any talent at all. Well, Miss Hardwicke, you moat creature, they're mistaken. "Twilight" did well because the main character, a vacant slate who is pined after by two young men who would never find interest in someone so boring, comes with the inhuman ability to have the reader's/viewer's wants and needs projected onto her. She is wish-fulfillment. Ask any 38-year-old single mom. Saying your movie is made by the director of Twilight is akin to telling someone your car is built by an American car company. It's technically a car, but that doesn't make it interesting or competently made in the least.

Number two: Believe the legend. One of the earliest versions is the Little Red Riding Hood story was in a book called "Tales of Mother Goose." Call me crazy, but I think appearing in Mother Goose makes you a fairy tale, which is decidedly different from a legend. King Arthur is a fucking legend. Sleepy Hollow is a legend. It's right there in the title! The Brothers Grimm, whom you might remember from FAIRY TALES such as "The Little Mermaid" and "Rumpelstiltskin" said that a legend was a "historically grounded" folktale. When scientists discover the fossil of a wolf wearing pajamas we'll talk. In the meantime, stop calling this a legend. That's like me calling my blog a "peer-reviewed scholarly document."

This brings us to the image itself. we have dreary woods and a bright red cloak. Not only does this bring flashes of stilted, wooden, dreary "Twilight" dialogue, but also the imagery of another fantastic Hollywood triumph, "the Village," by M. Night Shyamalan. Is that fair? The "Riding Hood" story has been around forever, with its roots in "The Bible and other fantastic stories,"* so Shyamalan could have taken cues from that and transplanted them into his story. That way it's just two different auteurs drawing from the same inspiration, right? Well, I don't want to give either of these terrible directors the benefit of the doubt, so Shyamalan is stealing and Treebeard up there is just unoriginal.

Now we have the logo, presented in the same stunning way as the title to "300." Blood spatters; is there anything they can't artificially hype up?

That was a quick point, wasn't it?

And at last, we have "Who's afraid?" That's not a bad tagline. It teases the audience with the appearance of the Big Bad Wolf (who is probably a glistening werewolf in this adaptation) and the adventure that will ensue. "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," indeed. Tra la la la la.

Wait. That's not from the Riding Hood story. That's from the Three Little Pigs. No, not the character of the Wolf, but that line. That lyric that is supposed to be the clincher for the whole film is stolen from a song featured in a 1933 Disney cartoon! They can't even keep their source material straight.

I don't know about you all, but I'll be in line to see this movie come March so I can make wolf shadow puppets on the screen. I like to bring a little realism to the movies.

* Not true. I just wanted to take an easy swipe at the Bible.

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