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STUDIO: The Weinstein Company
RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes
- DVD Copy
- Making of Featurette
A noir-ish retelling of Little Red Riding Hood done in the Rashomon style of multiple perspectives of a single event. But with fart jokes and a shit ton of Fletch references.
Written and Directed by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech. Acted by Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, Jim Belushi, David Ogden Stiers, Andy Dick, Xzibit, Chazz Palminteri, Anthony Anderson, Cory Edwards, Tom Kenny and Ken Marino.
More like splitters.
We begin at the ending with Little Red Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wold, The Woodsman and Grannie in the cottage with shit turning to fuck, but instead of it playing out the way it normally does, the cops show up and arrest everyone and start taking statements. We then go back in time to see what led everyone into the cottage and why they were all crazy pants.
I used to give a lot of leeway to children’s animation before Pixar came around. As long as it was a fairly entertaining diversion for an hour and twenty minutes and didn’t shit the bed too badly I could give it a pass, but after Pixar came along I realized you could have strong characters and powerful themes with genuine emotion without the sustained focus on booger jokes and pratfalls. I’m harder on kids movies now and am reluctant to give something a pass just because I think kids will like it and especially won’t if the film awkwardly intersperses jokes aimed at adults throughout it if they don’t fit the tone of the film. Hoodwinked tries really hard to be everything to everyone but has such a mediocre script and animation that, even with some genuine moments of greatness, it’s a pretty resounding dud.
I can’t stress enough how bad the animation is. I read an interview with the filmmakers where they said they knew they wouldn’t be able to come close to the animation that Dreamworks and Pixar were putting out, so they decided to try and make it feel like a CG Rankin-Bass feature, but instead it feels like cut-scenes from a Sega Genesis game. I mean, it looked a little better than Toejam & Earl, but I actually gave a shit about those guys so I guess the trade off isn’t very even. The backgrounds are nice and colorful and move along fluidly as the characters make their way through the story even as the characters are some of the worst rendered CG creations I’ve ever seen. Everyone moves like they’re in one of the Lego video games and also trying to run uphill through a field of bacon covered fetuses and I don’t mean in a good way. It looks so chintzy that even if they were working with a fucking William Goldman script it would have been as entertaining as 90 minutes of watching Billy Drago tongue kissing your daughter. The only thing that saves this movie from my microwave is some pretty fun voice acting and one or two moments of surreal insanity.
I used to think there needed to be a moratorium on Patrick Warburton doing voice over work. Not because he’s bad or anything but because he does so much of it that anytime his voice popped up, I just pictured Warburton in a booth recording dialogue instead of getting swept up into the story. Now I’ve gone around the sun and came back the other side loving his voice over work and smiling anytime I hear his billowing baritone. His Big Bad Wolf was the highlight of the film for me because of the work he does (and the fact that the Wolf is an investigative journalist molded after Fletch). The character works (even though the design and the animation don’t) and a film with him as the lead character would be light years more interesting than one where he plays second fiddle to Anne Hathaway’s Little Red Riding Hood.
Red is more sarcastic and riot girrl than we’re used to seeing her which is a nice change of pace, yet all of her personality differences seem in service of the writers wanting to be clever rather than actual character shadings that try and make Red a (ahem) 3 dimensional person. Andy Dick also does his best playing a weird and suspicious rabbit and I recognize that he doesn’t seem to be phoning it in, but I just can’t stand the guy and hearing his voice makes me unreasonably angry and constantly took me out of the movie. The guy shows his dick to teenagers. Also, Glenn Close does pretty exceptional work here because I didn’t even know it was her until the credits told me so. She plays Red’s Grandmother, who is also secretly an extreme sports junkie. Again, the character and design doesn’t work at all, but not through any fault of her own.
Too much here to digest.
The best thing about Hoodwinked for me is a little three minute segment about 30 minutes into the movie when The Woodsman (shockingly amusingly played by Jim Belushi) starts telling his story of why he ended up in the cottage, swinging an ax like a deranged, ax swinging, something or other. Before ending up in the cottage he drove a schnitzel truck, looking like a full blown child molester as he sings his schnitzel song and the kids run after him like the schnitzel is made of Walter White’s Blue. It’s a marvelously deranged sequence that feels out of place in a movie devoid of anything else as awesome as wide eyed, manic children screaming for fried, breaded meat.
I’m sorry if I sound like an asshole. I don’t mean to, it’s just that Hoodwinked half tries at so many neat things that, when 98% of them fail, it’s a little frustrating. I’m sure kids who don’t give a shit about character or sub par animation will eat this up like schnitzel, but for this 31 year old Ebinezer, it just feels like a shameless cash in on classic stories, devoid of all the things that made them classic in the first place. Sure, I laughed a few times and was never bored, but that’s not good enough anymore when animated films like Up and The Incredibles exist. I guess they don’t all have to aspire to that kind of level, but maybe if parents didn’t feed their kids any old kind of crap cinema, then maybe they would.
The colors pop and the sound is fantastic, but the strength of the transfer also shines a spotlight on the seams showing through in the animation. The Behind the Scenes Documentary is informative and interesting, but also gives you an insight into the delusional belief the filmmakers had that they were working from a really clever and brilliant script. They come across as a little desperate, but don’t we all at one time or another?