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Reviews: ‘Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Battle: LA’

By Staff | Mar 30, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Vampires and werewolves have found an unlikely stake in popular culture.

“Twilight’s” present day teen moon-blood romance gives way for a crack at remolding a “fairy tale.”

Instead of being based in the 21st-Century, however, “Red Riding Hood” regresses into the middle ages, with its Inquisition, witch paranoia and devil werewolf, are religious zealots who kill and torture in the name of God.

Those in an unnamed village grab axes and bats to end the reign of a relentless sacrificial superstition to prevent an inevitable human sacrifice. The traveling priest who purveys the deeds of the hellish human wolf instills more fear than the wolf itself. Except, unlike others facing the bite of a creature repulsed by silver, this stalking wolf has a target.

When the “father” arrives, the men proudly display the wolf head. He boastfully grimaces that it’s not the animal or its head would have returned to human form.

Aside from the red attire and the wolf, filmmakers make little connection with this trip to granny’s house in the woods to the fairy tale with “Little” in front of it.

And what does this have to do with Little Red Riding Hood? Red’s (Amanda Seyfried) facing a forced marriage to the prince – the red cape a wedding present from her grandmother.

Aside from a continuing mystery of “who is” the wolf in human form, there’s no dark and dreadful medieval atmosphere. Romance, wolf body count, and torture didn’t do anything for me.

As for Seyfried, she’s attractive, but has a generic personality that scores few empathic points, even when chained as wolf bait.

Battle: Los Angeles

Introducing its lead characters with subtitled names and ranks, “Battle: Los Angeles” has an Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” conjecture and effects that would pass for blockbuster.

However, neither the characters nor the war torn city have a faint feel of reality.

Close-up special effects are awesome; those representing the demolished cityscape, too CGI.

You may enjoy the lasers and splatters, but you only need to catch a few frames of the recent Japanese tragedy to dismiss this “Battle” as too unreal.