Hoodwinked Too: Hood v. Evil review by Tom Blain
I passed a RedBox the other day and saw Hoodwinked Too: Hood V. Evil listed under the genre Family. That sounds about right by looking at the box. A big blue-eyed Red Riding hood holds on tight to a bean stock. Holding on to her on one leg is an equally cute chubby cherub Hansel and Gretel duo. On the other leg, Reds kind-faced Grandma and a terrier-looking Big Bad Wolf. All is well and good, bright and bushy tailed, and just what a child would love to see.
Inside is a parents nightmare. The first reason is because Hoodwinked Too is made by Weinstein Brothers. Not Pixar. Not Dreamworks. Not even close. The bar has been set high by films like Shrek and Toy Story. In those films the stories are generally pretty solid and offer adult viewers plenty of adult jokes that are tame enough not to taint your child, but at the same time draw a chuckle. Both story and jokes are lacking big time. In its place are a number of bad jokes, low-hanging fruit, over-ripened slapstick, and ... endless action. The story is a hodge-podge of seemingly unlinked locations, ideas, and plot points that seem more or less like exercises for B-list CGI talent to play in the sandbox. And yes... the worst crime of all is that the quality of animation is severely lacking. The quality of this film is not even favorably compared to Toy Story 2 which is a film twelve years older. Details in the forest, in the sky, and even explosions seems to be very basic and lacking. Even the details on the characters (Red looks like some creepy doll in a thrift shop) hints that this was a low budget computer animated production.
Secondly (and this is a puritan, parent gripe), because the movie has copious amounts of action and fighting. It opens with a scene out of a cop movie (Bad Boys?) where a which has Hansel and Gretel tied up and her house is surrounded by the Happen Endings Agency (a group that is essentially a fairy tale SWAT team, not a group of dirty handed masseuses). A high speed chase ensues full of crashes, explosions, a few casualties, and a goat injury (that re-occurs).
Meanwhile Red is training with the Sisters of the Hood; essentially learning how to be a muffin delivering Kung Fu master. She has a fight scene between a four armed ogre and Red that looks like 1/2 Mortal Kombat and 1/2 Crouching Tiger.
This is all in the first fifteen minutes but the theme continues for the rest of the movie. Its an action-packed punch-for-punch animation that makes references to several R-rated films like Scarface, Kill Bill, and Goodfellas. I know I asked for adult jokes in an above paragraph but these references seem to be the wrong sort; they aren't enjoyable or funny. They are just easy and sitting there and often times not appropriate. The movie is rated PG and thats probably about right. Its not crass enough to be PG-13 and as mentioned before is not G. And lets be honest here: This was obviously made as a, "What can we do to ride Shreks coattails" movie, straight down to fair tale backdrop. But something about Shrek feels safe and fun and well balanced (towards kids and their parents), and whereas Hoodwinked II seems to be an orgy of action and explosions.
There isnt much positive to say about the film. Its target audience is confusing. Is it for children or their parents or neither? The graphic presentation is lame and much of the humor is too sophomoric for parents while at the same time there is probably more action than you would want young children to see. Older children would look at the box and probably pass. And honestly thats probably the best decision.
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