April 2011

April 2, 2011 at 1:41 am (Movie Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Red Riding Hood was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who directed and co-wrote indie hit Thirteen and directed the first Twilight film; starring Amanda Seyfried as Valerie, aka Little Red. From what I am seeing out there, I think this movie is getting undervalued for being associated with Twilight. There are some limited parallels: the love triangle on a plot level and some of the art/production design gives them a similar look, otherwise not much. It is an interesting new twist on an old folktale. The nature of folklore is to explore moral and psychological issues, as well as to entertain an audience, but each new telling of the story always twists and adapts to fit the social and cultural backdrop of the audience. If you want to get into a little academic discussion about it, I think this film delivered what it promised fairly well – just a few examples of this: it demonstrates how fear can rip apart a community, but also how people can come together in crisis; by making the villain a werewolf, it becomes an allegory for rage and lust that conforms with contemporary ideas of horror and pop-culture; there are also a few little morality tales about faithfulness and revenge. On top of that, I found the story to be engaging enough to entertain me and, while everyone in the village was afraid of the big bad wolf, there was enough mystery surrounding who was the big bad wolf to keep me guessing right up until the end.

Rating: I’m not going to buy this, but I did enjoy watching it.

I am still not exactly sure how I felt about Sucker Punch. The tagline for this movie was: You Will Be Unprepared. And I was. Having said that, based on the previews I was prepared to be unprepared, because – beyond the overlying story of a girl who is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather and plans to escape before she undergoes the lobotomy he has paid an orderly to arrange – I could not tell how any of the scenes in the preview went together. It has the look and feel of movies based on graphic novels, but that probably has to do more with the style of director and co-writer Zack Snyder, who also directed 300 and Watchmen. This is actually an original story, described as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” Snyder wanted an all-female cast, “I already did the all-male cast with 300, so I’m doing the opposite end of the spectrum.” The final cast of leads includes Emily Browning (Baby Doll), Abbie Cornish (Sweet Pea), Jena Malone (Rocket), Vanessa Hudgens (Blondie), and Jamie Chung (Amber). The content brushes over sensitive subjects like abuse and trauma. It also forces you to look at mental illness; the stigma still associated with mental illness; and how individuals with serious mental illnesses are truly vulnerable to those who care for them. As a community, we have a responsibility to care for and protect those unable to care for themselves, for whatever reason. While the basic plot is unfolding, our main character retreats into her mind to escape the horror of her reality; her mind’s coping mechanism as she plans her escape. There are some humorous and fantastic action sequences as she retreats into a fantasy within her fantasy in order to actually carry out each step of the escape plan. It takes you up and down; from beautiful to repulsive; laughter to horrified; shows you a rope-a-dope, then delivers a sucker punch. I think it was well done, but…

Rating: Still processing…

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2 Comments

  1. debrahutchens said,

    Hmmmm. I was mulling over this one too. Red Riding Hood looks interesting to watch on DVD, whereas Sucker Punch seems like one of those films that I may, or may like. But this post does clear it up and seems like it may be worth considering.

    • pemberliegh said,

      Thanks! Like I said, it was hard for me to tell what the deal was with Sucker Punch just from the previews, so I’m glad I could shed some light on it for you.

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