Anne Hathaway voices Red Riding Hood in the fractured fairy tale, Hoodwinked.
Remember the Fractured Fairy Tales from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show? Hoodwinked could easily be said to be a direct descendant of those cartoons, only updated to the 21st century and much funnier. In fact, there are so many inside jokes and sly references built into the film, this is a cartoon that can be enjoyed more by adults than children.
The story begins with the famous climax from Little Red Riding Hood when Red shows up at Grandma's house only to discover the wolf masquerading as the old lady. Grandma, it turns out, is tied up in the closet, but she manages to work her way out and just then the woodsman comes bursting in through the window with his axe waving. Before things get out of hand, the police show up in response to a domestic complaint and attempt to get to the bottom of what led to this by interviewing the four of them individually.
Each of the characters then proceeds to tell their version of the events of that day and while each of their stories presents a very different picture, they each tie together far more neatly than you might ever expect and in a way that puts similarly structured live-action movies to shame.
Half the fun in the movie is learning what happened to each of the characters that day, and how they differ from the way they are traditionally depicted in the Red Riding Hood story, so I can't reveal too much without giving the jokes away. Suffice to say that it is wholly original and very funny.
While the kids might laugh at some of the more slapsticky elements of the movie, adults will get more of the jokes and the references to other movies, such as Monty Python, Fletch, and many, many others.
The voice work is all well done and features the likes of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, James Belushi, Patrick Warburton and Andy Dick. Warburton, known best for his role of Puddy on Seinfeld, does a great job as the Wolf, but there isn't a bad performance in the bunch.
The two funniest characters however are supporting ones; Twitchy the squirrel, whom you should always keep away from caffeine, and Japeth the Goat; who swears that he's forced to sing everything he says because of a curse put on him by a witch, steal every scene that they're in.
Anyone looking for a traditional children's cartoon might want to wait for the next Disney effort, but anyone who like's their animation smart, funny and with a sense of humor that's just a little off kilter, Hoodwinked won't disappoint.
Patrick Warburton is the Wolf in Hoodwinked.
Hoodwinked is a fun film to watch but the songs should all have been left on the cutting room floor. Just because it is a fairy tale cartoon does not mean it has to contain songs. At least the songs are all thankfully short.
As Scott wrote the writing is aimed at adults while the basic storyline is for kids. Most of the dialogue will go right over your children's head but you will find it amusing. While the detective is talking to the four suspects Granny says, "I may lead a double life full of secrets and deceptions, but that's no reason to be suspicious!" When the finger gets pointed at the wolf he replies, "Oh, the wolf did it. Talk about profiling."
The animation is not nearly as good as what we have become accustomed to. Toy Story is 10 years old and it's animation is still better than Hoodwinked. Red Riding Hood shows very little expression, but at least the cast is talented enough to convey emotion.
Warburton was on Seinfeld but he has also been doing some other voice over work lately. My son recognized him as Kronk from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove and Kronk's new direct to DVD Kronk's New Groove as well as the new cartoon series "The Emperor's New School".
Hoodwinked has a great pace and so much going on that the songs were completely unnecessary. In one scene Granny is skydiving. We see her flying through the air as a song plays for no apparent reason. It then shows her say something to Red that was relevant earlier. The song slowed the scene down. The best musical moment in the film comes near the end when the Wolf watches the bad guys do a number and quips, "The song was catchy but the choreography was terrible."
Twitchy the Squirrel in Hoodwinked.
Hoodwinked is quite amusing in places but also seems padded with filler, which is not a good sign for a movie that runs less than 80 minutes. Eric, I agree about the songs, they are eminently forgettable. Clearly they were needed to stretch the rather meager plot out to feature length.
The voice work is quite good. Anne Hathaway brings the right amount of sarcasm to Red, and Andy Dick is good as the laughably sinister bunny villain, hippity-hopping his way to a candy monopoly. I agree that Patrick Warburton makes a great Wolf but then there really isn't a sub-par vocal performance in the movie. Like Scott I found Twitchy and Japeth to be the funniest characters, especially the incessantly singing goat.
The detective mystery storyline is clever and the script is peppered with funny lines. Chief Grizzly exemplifies the movies' sense of humor when he thinks he's figured out the case, “This looks pretty open and shut. Little miss rosy-capes making covert deliveries to the goodie-tycoon. Wolfie tries to eat 'em both, then crazy flannel-pants with the axe here busts in, swinging vigilante-style.” I laughed when Red discovers the Wolf once again disguised as Granny, “You again! What do I have to do, get a restraining order?” Woolworth the Sheep supplying the reporter Wolf with inside information is also worth a chuckle or two.
I didn't care for the slapstick parts of the movie as much. Granny's penchant for extreme sports missed the mark in my opinion. Old people acting uncharacteristically young and hip is a gag better suited for television commercials than movies. Hoodwinked does borrow liberally from those Fractured Fairy Tales on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show. It proves, however, that these types of cartoons make better cinematic appetizers than entrees.
Photos © Copyright The Weinstein Company LLC (2006)