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Hoodwinked
Reviewed by Gary Mitchel, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   Corey and Todd Edwards
Genre:   Animated fantasy
Released:   January 13, 2006
Review Date:   January 19, 2006
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   5/10 (What Is This?)

Why can't I write movie reviews?
— The Wolf

I know that Shrek and Shrek 2 are not to blame for the major shift from hand drawn to computer generated animation. That ball started rolling when Toy Story took off like gangbusters at the box office. And they certainly weren't the first to put an alternate spin on classic fairy tales (my favorites of that particular subgenre are the now classic "Fractured Fairy Tales" segments from Rocky and Bullwinkle). So while there will be comparisons between Shrek and Hoodwinked, I don't think you can credit (or blame) that green ogre for Hoodwinked.

Hoodwinked is the retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story, updated and given the "Fractured" treatment. All the basics are the same — we have a little girl with red hood and a goodie bag, a wolf in the woods, a tied-up granny, a woodsman — but now it's all been a bit skewed.

When the movie opens we're at the traditional end of the LRRH story, Granny's house with the "what big eyes/hands" routine going on and the rescue by the woodsman. From here, things go in a whole new direction to tell us the "true" story of what happened, both leading up to and after this confrontation between Red (Anne "Ella Enchanted" Hathaway), Wolf (Patrick "The Tick" Warburton), Woodsman (Jim "Real Men" Belushi), and Granny (Glenn "Stepford Wives" Close).

We jump forward a bit when the police (mainly pigs, ha ha) are investigating this "domestic disturbance." They think that this conflict directly relates to another situation that is causing havoc in the woods. As the police question the leads, with the help of a detective named Mr. Flipper (David Ogden Stiers, doing a riff on The Thin Man), the story of the forest and saga of the Goodie Bandit unfolds.

It seems that Red is more than some little girl bringing goodies to her poor Granny. Red is actually the delivery girl for Granny's sweet treats business. And the business is in trouble.

It seems that the whole forest is filled with critters that just love sweets, and lots of businesses that cater to them. The problem is that someone is stealing all the shops' recipes, forcing them to close. And Granny's shop is the only one left open. Of course, while Red and her Granny's goodies are the favorites of the forest, Red dreams of leaving the woods and seeing the wider world. And Granny has a secret life of her own as an Xtreme Sports star.

The Wolf, instead of a slavering beast hungry for what Red has in her basket, is an investigative reporter that wants to get the scoop on the Goodie Bandit. He and his partner, a hyper photographer squirrel Twitchy (Corey Edwards) follow Red around hoping that she will lead them to the Bandit. The section where we see things from their point of view is just about the best part of the movie.

The Woodsman is actually an actor trying out for a gig on a commercial for "Paul Bunion Cream" and has a side job as a schnitzel salesman. His song as he drives around selling schnitzel to chubby Germanic kids is the movie's only musical number that's actually funny.

Hoodwinked pulls off the multiple points of view quite well. Sadly, the story isn't as good as the way it's told. The reasons are pretty easy to list. Most of the jokes are obvious, and not many are really funny. The story isn't really engaging, except for the Wolf's part, and the musical numbers range from OK to annoying.

The identity of the Goodie Bandit is pretty easy to figure out. When revealed at the end it's slightly amusing, but it riffs way too hard on Syndrome from The Incredibles.

The animation is done in a storybook style, not the "realistic" look that Shrek went for. The characters mostly look like plastic figures or fuzzy dolls. I can appreciate what the animation team was going for, but some viewers will complain that the animation is stiff.

Hoodwinked is almost good, but isn't quite up to snuff. There are some decent jokes and good moments, but it could have been more. It leaves you feeling like it was too fluffy without enough substance. Kind of like a half-bag of cotton candy.

My, what big eyes RevSF SpankMuppet Gary Mitchel has. The better to (re)view you with, my dear.

 
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