Hoodwinked is a wise cracking animated film about a thief stealing recipes from various fairy tale characters. The story is told through the differing accounts of three characters apprehended by the police at Granny’s house in what would seem to be an attempt to steal her recipes and put her confectionary outfit out of business. The lead characters are Red AKA Little Red Riding Hood (Anne Hathaway), a journalist wolf (Patrick Warburton) searching for a story on the recipe thief, a bumbling German woodsman/actor (Jim Belushi) preparing for a role in a bunion cream advert, and Granny herself (Glenn Close), who has more than a few tricks up her sleeve.
The biggest problem with Hoodwinked is that, in a post Shrek world, it just doesn’t measure up, and delivers nothing new or original. Compared to the finest Pixar or Dreamworks has to offer, its script is an interesting variation on a theme, but it’s neither particularly side splitting nor moving, and it looks downright cheap too (Red’s character has no nostrils for instance).
The story begins with a fly through of a fairy tale forest, which already invites comparisons to Shrek. The songs are sub-Shrek, the jokes are sub-Shrek, and, despite a talented cast, the voice acting is largely sub-Shrek too. It’s an ambitious endeavour for an independent film, and weighed up on its own terms, it’s not a failure by any means, but sitting in the shadows of giants, there is the unpleasant sensation that you’ve been conned into watching nothing more than a cheap imitation of the sort of slick, big-budget production the poster advertises.
At its best, it raises a few good laughs, with the weirder characters being the funniest, including a singing goat that tops the list. The wolf’s photographer/sidekick, a hyperactive squirrel named Twitchy, also stands out above the other characters, and provides a classic funny talking, funny looking counterpoint to all the ironic winking and postmodern references.
Ultimately, even though Hoodwinked is no mean feat for an independent film, its marketing and positioning in such a well mined genre leaves it wanting when put next to the major players. If you’re in the right mood, it would make an entertaining night out, but don’t expect it to rearrange your world, especially if you’re a fan of animated films. A lot of the knowing, postmodern cracks might go over kids’ heads, but they are the audience that would probably enjoy this the most.
- Ivan Sadler
Tries its very best to be original, but only comes across as a cheap rehash of Shrek. Enough with the ironic fairy tales already!
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