Hoodwinked (2005) — A hilarious mystery wrapped in horrible animation

“I’m allergic to yodeling.”

Justin’s rating: Wolves and hoods, living together, mass hysteria!

Justin’s review: Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Red Riding Hood, who was traveling through the forest to bring her grandmother some goodies. When she got there, the wolf had disguised himself as her grandma to fool her, but she saw through the not-so-clever disguise and brought out her kung fu defense. The wolf, an investigative reporter trying to get to the bottom of a string of robberies, was flummoxed, right about the time when a yodeling aspiring actor who was discovering his passion for chopping down large trees burst in through the window. And the less said about Grannie’s wild past, the better.

Welcome to Hoodwinked — where the Brothers Grimm are given a wedgie and told to go their merry way.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you gave this flick a pass in theaters or home video; after all, it has the same lack of visual polish that we’ve started to see from all these studios cranking out CGI “quickies” to cash in on some of that Pixar love. It also taps into the fairy tale tradition, which we’ve been pelted with since Shrek 1-10 and trash like Happily N’ever After. And it goes berserk with Disney-esque short songs every five minutes or so. Sold, yet?

Nah, neither was I. For the first fifteen minutes or so, there wasn’t a lot to keep my attention on the TV screen and away from my extensive collection of stolen prosthetic limbs (Hey, everybody’s gotta have a hobby, okay? It’s not like those people can’t get a replacement.). Yet as Hoodwinked rolled onward, it got a few good chuckles and Japanese schoolgirl giggles from me, whether it be from the goat who had to sing everything, or the subversive dark humor of The Schnitzel Song. An intriguing mystery arises, for the familiar story we all know isn’t quite the full story.

Speaking of The Schnitzel Song, and why shan’t we, for as much singing that’s present, the eclectic soundtrack is incredibly fun — a diverse mix of passionate ballads, techno fight scenes, catchy tunes and a decent score. Comedies have a large leeway (that’s like a freeway, only with more Dukes of Hazzard) when it comes to using unorthodox songs, so… why not?

Neither rabidly great nor pathetically poor, Hoodwinked might be the unbalanced midday snack you’re craving.

One comment

  1. Regarding the animation, in the DVD commentary track, it was remarked that, going in, they knew they had no hope of matching Pixar or even Dreamworks. So they decided to go for a look that was both thematic and within their capabilities. So they chose to mimic the look of the Rankin-Bass stop motion TV specials.

    I rather liked some of the Rashomon aspects. For instance, when Red recounts the scene where she first meets the Wolf, the lighting is dark and sinister. When the Wolf recounts it, the lighting is bright and sunny.

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