About a month or so ago, I went to to see the new film “Red Riding Hood”. What I was expecting to see was an up to date remake of the classic fairytale; instead it was merely the complete opposite. The film had a romantic and was nothing like the classic version. “Little Red Riding Hood” who was not so “little”, instead a lovestruck teen who was falling in love with a woodcutter that her family failed to accept. This reminded me of the classic “Romeo and Juliet”. Seeing the Capulets not so happy with Juliet for falling for “not good enough” Romeo. The two were determined to be together, just as Romeo and Juliet were; the only difference was the two (Red Riding Hood and the woodcutter) do not commit suicide in the end. Instead both her and her village are tortured by “The Wolf”, a werewolf in this version. Many movie reviews and moviegoers note how much of a “dark twist” this version has to it. Nowhere in this version do we see “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Grandma” reciting their infamous lines– Red Riding Hood: “Grandmother, what big teeth you have.” Grandma: “The better to eat you with my dear!” As a matter of fact, the whole moral of the classic fairytale is lost in the film. “Children, especially young girls, should not talk to strangers because there are consequences.” Instead the film portrays more of a mystery as Red Riding Hood tries to figure out who the werewolf is that is terrorizing the village? The film reminded of “Twilight” as both films have the same director. This version puts you more on the edge than the classic fairytale which involves a child being eaten by a wolf which she mistakes for her Grandma. Despite its complete opposite plot, overall, I must say I enjoyed the film and especially liked how it is different from all the other versions of this fairytale. Attached is a trailer of the film for those who are not too familiar with it:
The classic telling of the traditional fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood” is one that has been examined cross-culturally prevalently throughout history. One of the not-so-traditional recounts of this classic fairytale is that of its incorporation into the musical stage adaptation of “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim. As a theatre connoisseur, “Into the Woods” has been a central force in my understanding of musical theatre, as it is a very well known play that is highly esteemed.
“Into the Woods” is made up of several fairy tales based upon the Grimm bothers’ retellings and includes the stories of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Cinderella”, “Rapunzel”, and of course, “Little Red Riding Hood”. Unlike the “Story of the Grandmother” mentioned in The Classic Fairytales, Little Red Riding Hood is not a “… more resourceful trickster than a naive young girl (18)”. For example, in “Into the Woods”, Little Red is coerced by the wolf into straying from the path to her grandmother’s house in order to pick flowers. Her naivety is so stressed in this musical, that the wolf sings of his plan to not only follow her but to later consume not only her but also her grandmother in the song, “Hello, Little Girl.” This song is sung by the character of the wolf while Little Red Riding hood is onstage. Additionally, there are lustful undertones to this particular score, highlighting the more racy tellings of this fairytale.
Like in the Grimm version, after Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are saved from the wolf, a moral is given in the song, “I Know Things Now” which Little Red Riding Hood herself sings. This moral is illustrated in the lyrics:
“And I know things now,
Many valuable things,
That I hadn’t known before:
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood,
They will not protect you
The way that they should.
And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good.”
As can be seen from this single stanza, many aspects of the tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” are present in the musical “Into the Woods”.