Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

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It sure took Hoodwinked some 6 years before a follow up film got made, and while based primarily on the characters in Little Red Riding Hood twisted into that featured in the first film, any semblance of what you know from that fairy tale got totally thrown out the window in his sequel, as it focused more on the action with the narrative by the quartet of Mike Disa, Tony Leech and Cory and Todd Edwards turning this into something of a mission impossible, with Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) running an agency called the HEA whose operatives are out to save Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) from the evil clutches of Verushka the Witch (Joan Cusack).

You can smell the formula it's trying to emulate from the Shrek franchise with its many fairy tale characters peppering the landscape, with side show characters such as The Giant (Brad Garrett) from Jack and the Beanstalk, the three little pigs, and countless others including a not so blind mouse. Comedy comes courtesy of the many pop culture references yet again that adults will catch, but I can't say too much of the same from the little ones, judging by bored looks and less than enthusiastic responses throughout the show. If it's something animated films need to know and that is never alienate your targeted audience although it's a fine line to tread upon, given the accompanying adults that you have to consider as well.

It's also strange that the bulk of the budget probably went to securing the class act of voices to return and feature in this follow up, featuring the likes of Hayden Panettiere (taking over Anne Hathaway) as Red Riding Hood, Glenn Close as Granny, Patrick Warburton as the Wolf, and others such as Cory Edwards, Martin Short, and even model Heidi Klum, although her Heidi character probably didn't more than 10 sentences throughout the film in her character's short appearance. No doubt they do a good job trying to breathe some life into their animated roles, but alas they all got let down by what's primarily essential in an animated film, besides the lack of a solid storyline, and that's the animation.

I was quite surprised to note that there was even some stereoscopic transfer from 2D to 3D for this film (the 3D version didn't make it here), given none of the scenes called for something to pop out of the screen, so it's a complete rip off. Worse, the animation lacked the detail and vividness of modern day CG animation, with character expressions being really stiff that you may be mistaken that it's something done from our animation factories that produced films like Sing to the Dawn - no offense here, but it's really quality that took many steps backward to where we are currently, at the infancy stage.

That already meant the battle got lost halfway since the visuals fail to engage, coming off as quite cheap looking, and the storyline or the lack thereof in something with a little more punch, with its villainous gags coming up really short and being repetitive. Riddled with plenty of cliches, such as Red Riding Hood being sent away to tutor under the Sister Hoods, which is a pseudo martial arts monastery cum bakery school, that really, baking and kung fu? Give me a break please and leave that to the Panda, although the positive message to come from the film for the little ones include that of working together and cooperation, since Red and Wolf can't partner together for the most parts, and have to learn through the hard way.

I'm not sure why this film even got made as it went really off tangent from the first one, and seriously could have been called anything else and still it won't matter. It's its own film that somehow didn't work, if only it had worked on both the quality of animation, and storyline.

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