Directed by Mike Disa, Written by Mike Disa, Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, and Tony Leech, 85 minutes, Rated PG.
By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz
Animated films can get away with a lot. Audiences watching on TV or at the movies suspend disbelief before even sitting down. These films create unrealistic characters and illogical worlds, never needing to justify its absurdity. Despite all of this, no animated film should ever be boring.
“Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil” commits this crime. Already stretching the first film’s premise to the world of unnecessary sequels, its charm wares off during the first lengthy action sequence. Unable to balance laughs with thrills, almost every scene, horribly converted into 3D, feels flat, causing the short 85-minute runtime to feel like an eternity.
The problems begin at a plot level. Red (Hayden Panettiere), having renounced the Happily Ever After Agency, turns to the “Sister Hood,” a type of culinary ninja clan. During her training, she learns of Granny’s (Glenn Close) kidnapping and asks her old partner, Wolf (Patrick Warburton), to help get her back.
Throw in a sub-plot about a magical truffle and some tired references to other, better movies, and you get “Hoodwinked Too!” The script tries to construct a zany fairy tale world a la “Shrek,” but forgets its prime motif just as quickly. Disa has these iconic characters, yet does nothing with them. Instead, the script relies heavily on stale pop-culture references and generic messages.
What the film has over its predecessor is the ever-popular, post-converted 3D look, which doesn’t fix the lackluster animation. Red and co. awkwardly sit in the sparse settings, bursting from the screen without depth or energy. The film has sat on the shelf since 2009 to add the 3D effect, but Disa should have concentrated on making his world look interesting.
This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise – most converted projects end up looking awkward -- but a good cast can overcome this problem--usually. “Hoodwinked Too!” boasts Glenn Close, Amy Poheler, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack and Patrick Warburton, yet no one seems to be in their element. Casting Poheler and Hader sounds like a good idea. Casting them as Hansel and Gretel does not. This film is the proof.
“Hoodwinked Too!” can’t seem to make heads or tails of what it wants to do. Instead, everything from the animation to the performances seems lazy, with each plot point and joke detracting from the already weak premise.
The very nature of animation is to appear lively, and if that’s the case, “Hoodwinked Too” fails at almost every turn.