Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2005 // 81 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // February 15th, 2011
Red Riding Hood, The Woodsman, Granny, The Wolf. Not your typical crime. Not your usual suspects.
"What the Schnitzel?"
The Little Red Riding Hood story gets a makeover in Hoodwinked. As series of seemingly unconnected circumstances results in Red Puckett (Anne Hathaway, Bride Wars), her grandmother Granny Puckett (Glenn Close, Damages), Wolf W. Wolf (Patrick Warburton, Rules of Engagement), and aspiring woodsman/actor Kirk Kirkendall (Jim Belushi, Made Men) finding themselves under interrogation by Detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers, Better Off Dead). Flipper believes that at least one of these individuals is, or is in cahoots with, the "Goodie Bandit," a mysterious criminal who's been stealing recipes from all the bakeries in the woods, putting many shops out of business.
There's a lot going on in Hoodwinked, a bit too much for its own good. The film wants to appeal to all audiences by re-imagining Little Red Riding Hood in a Shrek-like fashion while throwing in a more sophisticated storytelling approach by adopting the conventions of police procedurals and Rashomon. But apparently that isn't enough because it also adds nods to both xXx and Fletch.
As is typical with most films that try to please everybody, Hoodwinked achieves mixed results. Many of the jokes directed at adults, like the Fletch references, will go over the heads of kids completely and only serve to remind adults of a movie they would probably enjoy watching more than this one. Meanwhile, the humor directed at kids is so simple that it holds no appeal for the older crowd. This is not to say that it's all bad. The story is engaging. Further, a sequence with a singing goat is quite inspired, as is the Woodsman's "Schnitzel Song." However, the film drags on more than one occasion because scenes, especially two chases, Red's contemplative interlude, and Granny Puckett's backstory, go on far too long. The entire proceedings are about fifteen minutes too long.
The film is also hindered by its animation. Pixar it most definitely is not. The low budget computer animation produces characters and scenery that lack the detail of higher end fare. Additionally, character movement does not look natural.
The voice work is fine. Warburton and Belushi make the most of their supporting roles.
The animation quality aside, the video quality is strong. Hoodwinked is presented in 1080i/1.78:1. The colors are bright and robust. The picture is sharp and clean. The default audio option is Dolby 5.1 Surround; however, it can be switched to DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio in the options menu. Dialogue is delivered without any problems. The many sound effects (e.g., some explosions and an avalanche) and song numbers make solid use of the 5.1 mix.
Oddly, the Blu-ray disc includes only one extra, the featurette "The True Behind-the-Scenes Story," which has cast and crew talking about the film. If you want to watch the rest of the extras you need to pop in the standard DVD. Needless to say, this is inconvenient. The extras on the standard DVD are the same as those on the original 2006 DVD release; for reference, these include an audio commentary with the writers and co-directors (Cory Edwards, Tony Leech, and Todd Edwards), five deleted scenes with optional commentary from Cory Edwards, a music video, a featurette about making animated films, and the theatrical trailer.
Hoodwinked has entertaining moments, but its grab bag style doesn't make for a satisfying film, especially for adults. It would have made a better television series than feature film. The shorter run time would allow for faster pacing and more succinct storytelling.
And why didn't they put all the extras on the Blu-ray disc?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* DVD Copy