Fairy Tale Runs Amok
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first Hoodwinked movie, Hoodwinked Too! Good VS. Evil disappointed me so much that I hate thinking about it again while writing a review. I admit the premise seemed quite promising. Red Riding Hood -- an agent for the Happily Ever After Agency -- gets called back from her covert “Sisters of the Hood” training to help find Hansel and Gretel, who have disappeared, and later Granny, who's been kidnapped. That plot makes sense as a follow-up to Red’s first adventure where she dealt with the mysterious Goody Bandit, an evildoer responsible for closing down the forest establishments that sell yummy pastries and candies. And, in that film, Granny was also one of the people in danger because of all the delicious goodies she prepares and sells.
However, while most of the fun in Hoodwinked involved finding out about Granny’s outrageous secret life, I also loved the movie’s amusing characters. Sadly, fun and humorous characters are missing in this bombastic sequel. What takes their place? Explosions, ultra-speedy action and silly or stereotypical attempts to make the target audience laugh, which didn’t happen at the screening I attended -- except once when a little tyke giggled over a joke about body odor.
How could this happen, especially with such excellent voice talent signed on again for Hoodwinked Too? Back in their original roles are Glenn Close as Granny, Patrick Warburton as the Wolf, David Ogden Stiers as Nicky Flippers (a frog detective in charge of the Happily Ever After Agency), Cory Edwards as Twitchy the squirrel, and Benji Gaither singing more crazy mountain goat songs. New actors providing voices are no slouches either. Among them are: Hayden Panettiere, who takes over from Anne Hathaway as Red; Martin Short doing Kirk the Woodsman; Amy Poehler as Gretel; Bill Hader voicing Hansel; Brad Garrett as the Giant; David Alan Grier speaking for Moss, the Troll; and Joan Cusack voicing the witch Verushka.
If I were working for Nicky Flippers and his HEA Agency, my main suspects in this case would be Mike Disa, Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech. It’s interesting to note that Disa, the film’s director and co-writer, is new to the Hoodwinked group, whereas Leech and the two Edwards guys wrote and directed the much superior original film. Hmm. That has to move Disa to the top of my list. As the director, he could have slowed down the film’s frantic pace a bit. And as a co-writer, he should’ve been able to tell when so much of the dialogue -- even throw-away lines like “Rachel Ray is the Devil” -- wasn’t working.
On the plus side, I have no quarrel with the movie’s animation. It comes across as very similar to the original, so Red’s big beautiful eyes are still captivating. But the film’s ending sets things up for another sequel, and that worries me. Do you realize how many fairy tales can be Hoodwinked?!!!
(Released by The Weinstein Company and rated “PG” for some mild rude humor, language and action.)
For more information about Hoodwinked Too! Good VS. Evil, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.