RED RIDING HOOD
Red Riding Hood is one of the better of the Cannon Movie-Tales, which is not saying much considering how sad and misbegotten most of them are. As all the others tales are, Red Riding Hood is a cheap and tatty production the werewolf transformation, for example, is only shown as a series of dissolving stills not even the primitive live-action lap dissolves of the Lon Chaney Jr The Wolf Man (1941). (This was in the day well before morphing and CGI). The film is padded with some banal songs at the screening where I saw the film, the kids present spent the time running around the theatre during these interludes.
Realising they could not get much of a feature-length plot out of a fairy-tale that consists only of a walk through the woods and then a punchline, Golan-Globus have kept the telling of the events that take place in the fairytale until right at the end. For the bulk of the film, the scriptwriter has swiped a few leaves from Robin Hood in the story of the cruel King John who usurped his brothers throne. Unfortunately, this has the habit of making the fairy-tale, when it is reached, somewhat of an irrelevancy. The What big eyes you have, grandmother bit is nicely handled but the rest of the piece has been pitched to the family market so much that any meaning has been sanitised out of it the wolfs eating of Red Riding Hood is never shown, the Grandmother is allowed to survive and there is the totally unbelievable end where the wolf is cut open and Amelia Shankley emerges without even a drop of blood on her.
Craig T. Nelson, best known for Poltergeist (1982), tv shows like Coach (1989-97) and of course the voice of Mr Incredible in The Incredibles (2004), is a performer whose entire acting range consists of a single blank, glassy-eyed expression. He plays here with a grotesquely hammy theatricality and fails to convince in the part for a second. His sole exception is the Man Without a Heart number where he opens up with a hearty baritone, momentarily giving the character some presence and stature in an otherwise zombified performance. (The other worthwhile musical number is Rocco Sistos slinkily, seductive Good at Being Bad song). The film is at least worth watching for the classic beauty of Isabella Rossellini. She plays her part convincingly, even if the film fails to make any worthwhile use of her.
Not many of the writers/directors of these Cannon Movie-Tales ever went onto anything of note. One exception here might be director Adam Brooks who subsequently went onto write films like French Kiss (1995), Beloved (1998), Practical Magic (1998), Wimbledon (2004), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) and to write/direct The Invisible Circus (1999) and Definitely, Maybe (2008).