Title: Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil
Directed By: Mike Disa
Starring the voices of: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, David Ogden Stiers, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Martin Short, David Alan Grier, Cory Edwards, Brad Garrett, Wayne Newton, Andy Dick, Heidi Klum
In 2005, the animated “Hoodwinked” didn’t really light up the domestic charts. So it it surprising that a sequel is now hitting theaters. Yet animations are hotter than ever these days; and if a studio slaps the 3D on them, Cha-ching!
It would be easy to say that is essentially what “Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil” is all about. But the writers were really trying to do something here. I mean, really trying. To the point where it becomes a meta-overkill (how many times did you read that term in “Scream 4” reviews by the way?). Problem is, the overkill doesn’t stop with the constant spoofing of the genre. It continues on until it tops the record held by all the “Shrek” movies combined, when factoring in references to pop culture.
The Happily Ever After agency (HEA) is monitoring the kidnapping of Hansel (voiced by Bill Hader) & Gretel (voiced by Amy Poehler). Taken by Verushka the Witch (voiced by Joan Cusack), the HEA, led by Granny (voiced by Glenn Close) and The Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) are forming a perimeter around the fabled gingerbread house. While receiving orders from the well-dressed frog Nicky Flippers (voiced by David Ogden Stiers) via HEA headquarters, Big Bad Wolf decides to send in Twitchy the beaver (voiced by Cory Edwards). Well the Witch was prepared and manages to escape with both Hansel and Gretel, along with Granny, who makes a daring last ditch effort to save the round German children.
Desperate for help, Nicky Flippers tracks down Red Riding Hood (voiced by Hayden Panettiere), who is training off in the distant mountains with the legendary Sisterhood. The Sisterhood has coincidentally lost the their secret treasure – a recipe – and Granny is the only one who knows it. Red reluctantly teams up again with the maverick-like Big Bad Wolf, as they track down the Witch.
It’s really that simple. Where it gets complex is how often the dialogue works in meta after meta. All of which will fly right over the younger audiences’ heads. Hell, the delivery is so fast that the audience members it’s geared toward will probably miss it as well. The phrase, “picking your spots” is something the writers and director needed to practice with this piece.
Aside from the rambling, the 3D animation is interesting to watch. The way it was shot, styles the flick as more of a series of videogame vignettes with live game-play. Character placement and cinematography is very reminiscent of what one would experience during a modern day adventure game aimed at the kids (or some of my thirty year-old friends sadly). So in that respect, it was enjoyable from a visual perspective. And the action sequences were handled sufficiently enough to keep ones’ attention.
The characters are also lively, but their not all that fun. They should really be Muppet fun, but instead, they are hampered by the pressing need to insert sharp, self-aware dialogue, that ends up being more confusing than anything. I’ve said it a thousand times, animations carrying a playful theme, should have the viewer laughing more times than not. Unfortunately, this is not the case with this parody-like fairytale.
Overall, “Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil” was over-analyzed behind-the-scenes. It still manages to be appealing to the eyeballs, but will end up numbing your brain. A game cast did breathe life into a bunch of colorful characters, but the balance of what this is trying to be is never realized; and will make the 85 minutes feel a lot longer. Basically, the concepts and ideas found here are late to the party. And consequently, forgettable.
Review by Joe Belcastro