Theatrical Review: HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL
Writers: Mike Disa, Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech
Director: Mike Disa
Cast: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack
Studio: The Weinstein Company
It seems fitting that the weekend we witness the wedding of the future King of England to his commoner princess that the Weinstein Brothers would release a follow-up to the mildly successful reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood. The original HOODWINKED attempted to capitalize on the trend of modernizing fairy tales that SHREK started in 2001, but unlike everyone’s favorite green ogre, the original was less aware of pop culture and more determined to make poop jokes over witty comments. HOODWINKED was enjoyable enough for its intended audience - children under the age of 10, but it lacked the joy de vivre of its contemporary animated films.
So, it was a little surprising to find out The Weinstein Company had a second HOODWINKED planned for release this week, especially knowing how forgettable the original offering was. HOODWINKED TOO: HOOD VS. EVIL picks up a few months after the previous film. Hayden Panettiere replaces Anne Hathaway as Red, the spunky yet hot tempered fairy tale crime fighter. Red has chosen to leave behind her life as an agent for the secret Happily Ever After organization dedicated to policing wily and rogue fairy tale villains, and ventures to the Orient to mastering the ways of the Sister Hood.
During her training, Red learns that her grandmother (Glenn Close) has been taken hostage by her childhood rival Verushka (Joan Cusack), a bitter witch dead-set on forcing her old friend to bake up a truffle guaranteed to give the eater super powers. Along with her friend the not-so Big Bad Wolf, voiced with an obnoxious amount of cheese by the normally delightful Patrick Warburton, and his hyper-active squirrel sidekick Twitchy (Cory Edwards), Red will stop at nothing to rescue her Granny.
The HOODWINKED TOO plot tries to be clever by including a couple of surprises twists along with the stale good always conquers evil motif, but that doesn’t help a film lacking solid dialogue and character development. When the actors aren’t delivering corny and clichéd lines, they are mum, or worse, wooden. Panettiere shined in SCREAM 4, proving she knows how to appear innocent while running her mouth, but as Red she sounds like she wants to collect her paycheck and get back to saving dolphins. Her voice never commits to the animated personality of Red, and it distractingly weakens the character. It’s a shame really, since she usually has the right amount of pixie cuteness mixed with ass-kicking toughness a female-driven film needs.
Warburton and Close aren’t much better. They sound utterly bored, which translates back to the audience as an excuse to pull out their phones or take a nap midway through. Even the inclusion of comedy dream team Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as the mischievous Hansel and Gretel can’t save this jumbled mess of trite foolishness. Not since DOOGAL have I witnessed such dialogue that underestimates the smarts of children and completely ignores their adult parents.
If you want a more engaging renovation of a fairy tale, just stay on BCC America all weekend and stare longingly into the eyes of William and Kate - at least they know what they’re doing.