Two Movies, Two Disappointments

In the past week, despite full time work and full time study, I have managed to get to the movies twice. Both times, I am sad to say, I was disappointed by what I saw.

The first one, Red Riding Hood, I saw on Sunday night with my boyfriend and another friend of ours.

The tragedy of this movie is that it had plenty of potential. There are two or three characters you suspect of being the werewolf, and there is evidence that points to any and all of them. Slowly, each of them is eliminated, and the werewolf turns out to be someone you never even thought of. Great plot twist, huh? Well, maybe, if the revelation had actually been delivered in an exciting manner, if the characters weren’t as flat as a board and if the dialogue wasn’t stilted and awkward most of the time. When Gary Oldman’s character, a werewolf-hunting priest, turned up, he had some sort of European accent (I’m useless with accents, so I won’t try to place it). About halfway through the movie, this completely disappeared, and he defaulted to his natural British accent. When I commented that I would have expected more from Gary Oldman, my boyfriend’s response was that he was clearly soaking up the quality of the movie around him. Meanwhile, Amanda Seyfried spent the majority of the movie being wide-eyed and pouty and there’s only so long I can deal with that.

The links to the original Little Red Riding Hood story were tenuous at best. Her cloak could have been orange or purple or green and it wouldn’t have effected the story in the slightest. The “Grandmother, what big eyes you have” exchange takes place, but only in a dream sequence, and the only reason Grandmother seems to live so far away is so that Valerie (she doesn’t even get called Red Riding Hood once) has to walk through the forest to her house when she suspects something is wrong. I know that in the original story, the woodcutter and Red Riding Hood sew rocks inside the wolf, but doing this to the werewolf (in human form) seemed rather silly; there are other ways to dispose of a body.

Like I said, so much potential, but it all went to waste… I guess that’s what happens when the movie is written and directed by the same woman who directed Twilight… maybe that should have been my first hint.

The second movie I saw this week was Sucker Punch, starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens, amongst others.

I was actually really interested in this movie, though in hindsight I’m not sure what I was expecting… whatever it was, though, it wasn’t what I got. To begin with, the plot would work waaaaay better as a video game. In essence, the entire movie is “I need this item, I will enter a magical world to obtain it, I will return to real* world” (*which is in itself a fantasy world – Emily Browning’s character has a dream-within-a-dream thing going on). The “escape from insane asylum” plot seems like an excuse for the fantasy scenes and the fantasy scenes seemed like an excuse to not have to actually explain how anyone escapes. On top of that, the side characters weren’t really developed enough in the real world for the fantasy counterparts to make sense. Overall, it just felt a bit messy.

Having said that, I did like the five main characters, Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie and Amber. They were all well-developed and each clearly had their individual talents that made each mission a success. I know she was highly praised for her role in Bright Star, but I much preferred Abbie Cornish in this role. It was nice to also see that when she’s not confined by the cheesy High School Musical image, Vanessa Hudgens is quite enjoyable to watch. Jena Malone was spunky and endearing, and when her character met her (perhaps inevitable) fate, the scene tugged on your heart-strings.

Overall, thought, characters are only as good as the plot they are put in, and Sucker Punch‘s left me feeling decidedly underwhelmed… Perhaps I should try playing the inevitable video game… I have a feeling it’d be better that way.

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