Menahem Golam's Red Riding Hood is possibly one of the worst musicals to hit or not hit the screen since Burt Bacharach's Lost Horizon in the 1970’s. The US. theatrical release was cancelled when Golan’s previous experiment with feature length musical fairy tales, Rumpelstiltskin (1987) flopped at the box-office. From its low budget sets to its mediocre use of performers and embarrassing direction, this musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” is a dud in almost every department.
Poor Isabella Rossellini is wasted in the role of Lady Jean, Red Riding Hood's mother. I love this actress and never thought that I would be embarrassed for her in any role, but she has accomplished the unthinkable with this poor excuse of a film. Rosellini's singing solo "You Won't Be Here in the Morning" can only be equated to aural torture and really makes you wonder about her future in films. Craig T Nelson (Poltergeist, TV’s Coach), sings a little better but overacts and erratically moves during his so-called choreographed moments to make you feel sorry for the man.
It is a shame that these performers have to be subjected to this material, made even worse with the lack of direction by Adam Brooks. It is apparent that Mr. Brooks has no concept on how to film a movie musical. His camera just wanders in all the wrong places capturing the embarrassing choreography and the lack of talent involved. The big production number "When the World Grows Green in the Blue" involving all the main characters and peasants of the village, registers as one of the worst musical numbers ever captured on screen since "The World Is A Circle" from Lost Horizon, not so much for the song itself, but for the horrifying staging by Mr. Brooks.
There are a few glimpses of talent but not enough to save this disaster. The music score by Sesame Street’s composer Stephen Lawrence has some intricate and interesting melodies, unfortunately sabotaged by some God-Awful lyrics by Micheal Korie. Amelia Sharkey (from Dream Child) as Red Riding Hood is believable and has a strong singing voice particularly during her solo “ Lost in the Woods” and there are some hints that Rocco Sisto would have registered as The Big Bad Wolf should he had been under the direction of a more capable director. His rendition of "Good at Being Bad" is the only highlight in a film that’s saturated with many lows.
Red Riding Hood is as bad a children's movie as has been made ever. It is badly written, badly directed, badly acted and badly made. To sum it up it’s a tragic fairy tale film with absolutely no magic. If you want to see an excellent musical adaptation of the Red Riding Hood story rent the DVD version of "Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods" and savor a masterpiece of music and imagination.