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Red Riding Hood is a stunning visual journey into a world where magic seems reasonable, and werewolves exist in people’s consciousness.  The setting is completely engaging with the natural elements of Gramma’s tree house, wolf fur for warmth, hand-woven fabrics and spikey trees in the surrounding forest.  It is easy to fall under its charm.

Henry goes from a Coward to a Hero and Peter goes through the trials of becoming a Lover/King but Red Riding Hood doesn’t seem to go through any growth in this film.

Red (Valerie) opens ready to ditch her village and run away with Peter, no problem.  This is where she should be attached to a Dependent World.  This should have been a huge dilemma for her.  She needed to be attached to being a good girl.  Several characters referred to her as a good girl but it rolled off her like water on a duck.

Expected to marry the rich guy, Henry – no problem.  She wasn’t going to and openly lured Peter with her dancing and made out in the village with him.  She already owned her sexuality which means the story was over.  In Little Red Riding Hood the interesting transformation is seeing Red give up being controlled by the values of her kingdom and go off the safe path of good girls to explore and own her sexuality.

Even confessing to the village inquisitor that the wolf talked to her didn’t cause her to feel the need to make herself small to be safe.  Wearing the pig mask and being chained as bait for the wolf didn’t phase her.  The revenge of a jealous friend did bring tears to her eyes.  That was a really creepy moment and played well against the moment when the friends came to her side.

Valerie even seemed indifferent when Peter appeared to be the wolf and she pulled a knife on him.  “Peter don’t” she said flatly.  She just seemed unsure of her growth all through the movie.

The weird part was that many of the beats of a Virgin journey were there, such as arranged marriage and several references to Valerie being a good girl (Dependent World), Dressing the part by wearing the red cloak, kingdom in chaos with a “Savior” hellbent on killing the werewolf no matter who dies along the way. There is even a rescue or two.

I would say this is a good movie, rich in archetypal elements, that could have been great.

 

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