Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011)

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Andrew DISLIKEThere's an attempt to preempt any criticism against this unnecessary sequel to one of the most perplexingly successful films of 2006.  Wolf W. Wolf (Patrick Warburton) receives a breakdown on a criminal that he, Red (Hayden Panettiere) and Twitchy (Cory Edwards) are going to question.  Among his myriad of crimes includes the final intolerable sin of "Blogging about animated films".  To which Wolf replies, "He should get a life".

Ha ha ha.  Well played.  This gets to go on the short list of the Mayor Ebert and Gene from Godzilla and the know-it-all critic from Lady In The Water. Preemptively lashing out at the people most likely to have anything to say about your film is always a good strategy and usually a sign of weakness.  True to form, this lifeless attempt at revitalizing fairy tale tropes into action movie substitutes is pretty bad.  But it sure has one up on me.

If at this point it's not clear, I was not a fan of the original Hoodwinked! It had a clever premise in telling a Rashomon-like story from the perspectives of the characters from Little Red Riding Hood.  But the film indulged in a bit too much Gen-X quirkiness for it's own sake, making Granny (Glenn Close) an extreme sports junkie, Red a ninja, the Big Bad Wolf not so big and bad, and (in the worst example) making the Lumberjack (Jim Belushi in the first, Martin Short for the sequel) a very effeminate man who does not know his way around an axe.

Don't worry. I'd be caught with the same expression if anyone ever found me willingly watching this again.

Well, the sequel Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (H2 from this point on) saves me the trouble of granting it even a clever premise.  After the events of the original the team went to work for the Happily Ever Agency, an organization dedicated to making sure happy endings take place.  In the opening task Wolf, Granny and Twitchy are all trying to rescue Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler, both wasted) from being eaten by a witch.  Red can't join them because she's off training with the some secret kung-fu cooking society.

Tensions flare up because of the botched rescue attempt.  Wolf feels bad because Red wasn't around to help, Granny gets kidnapped, and there's some nonsense about an ultimate truffle that only the secret society can cook.  So we watch as Wolf and Red try to patch up their relationship while hunting down Granny's whereabouts and put a kabosh on the truffle cooking.

The most glaring issue with this Hoodwinked series is how blatantly the pop-culture references are blatantly inserted into the film.  Too many times the reference is the joke without it making any kind of organic sense to these characters.  When Red goes to visit the villain of the last film, a psychotic bunny, he greets her with "Hello Clarice."  To which she appropriately responds, "Who's Clarice?"  Oh, it's the woman behind her.  Silly us for thinking the bunny was just calling attention to one of the best delivered lines in film history just for the heck of it.

However, the preponderance of evidence suggests just that.  If it were backed up in any way by a modicum of wit, then they might have been on to something but the film is pitched at the Scary Movie set, just for kids.  I cringed when they actually managed to work the line "You've been hoodwinked.  Too!" into the script and felt even less at ease when they started talking about Tweeting ("What's tweeting?"  Another villain prudently asks.)

At least the publicity stills save us from pretending like Red and Wolf's issues won't be resolved by the end of the film.

The animation remains just as unappealing as it was in the first film.  What's sad is that the film opens on a storybook giving us a brief background on what happened in the original and we can see just how poor the animation quality was.  That's somewhat acceptable as it was made five years ago on a shoestring (for an animated film anyway) budget.  But Hoodwinked somehow became a success and no expense could be spared to improve the animation quality.  No one has any weight or heft with Red jumping around like she has the worlds twitchiest wire fighting team but still having the body flexibility of a piece of rebar.

It may be sad for some that I can point to something like Shrek and say that this sort of thing is done better there.  But in the Shrek films the fairy tale tropes don't feel like a bunch of haphazardly assembled film genres that happen to be wearing wolf and ogre skins.  H2 is more bereft of sincerity and talent than the original, retaining none of the incidental charm and wasting the awesome vocal talents of Patrick Warburton in the process.

For shame H2.  I may not always have the most exciting Friday nights but at least I know how to leave my audience with some kind of insight.

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Hoodwinked Too!  Hood vs. Evil (2011)

Directed by Mike Disa.
Written by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, and Tony Leech.
Featuring the vocal talents of Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close and Hayden Panettiere.

Posted by Andrew

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