The original Hoodwinked!, released in 2006, really stood out like a sore thumb among its fellow computer animated films, as the movie featured an almost distractingly low-rent animation style that wasn’t even remotely in the same league as Pixar or DreamWorks’ releases. (Of course, it might have been easy to overlook the shoddy visuals had the film contained anything resembling an interesting storyline or compelling characters.)
With the bar set so low, it seemed as though the sequel had nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil actually fares worse than its underwhelming predecessor – as director Mike Disa has infused the proceedings with a loud, relentlessly over-the-top feel that becomes tiresome almost immediately. The bottom-of-the-barrel atmosphere is felt most keenly in the film’s hopelessly inept attempts at humor, with the emphasis placed on juvenile, aggressively unfunny jokes and gags that are sure to leave even small children rolling their eyes in frustration. (For example, the film’s protagonist is faced with and forced to fight an enormous, multi-armed ogre that’s certainly quite fearsome in appearance. When the creature speaks, however, he sounds like a sassy black guy. This is what Disa considers comedy?)
As Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil opens, Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), Granny Puckett (Glenn Close), and The Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) are working with the Happily Ever After Agency to protect fairy tale characters all over the world from evil forces. But when the gang attempts to rescue Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler) from an evil witch (Joan Cusack), Granny winds up kidnapped herself and is subsequently held hostage within a fortified skyscraper.
Meanwhile, Red Riding Hood (Hayden Panettiere) has been training in a remote location with a group of female warriors called the Sisters of the Hood. After she learns of Granny’s abduction, however, Red returns home and joins her friends in their search for their beloved compatriot. The gang’s first stop is a nightclub run by the giant (Brad Garrett) from the famed Jack and the Beanstalk fable, and it’s there that they begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together – with their quest inevitably bringing them face to face with an extremely formidable opponent.
The Voice Cast
Filmmaker Mike Disa has certainly assembled an impressive voice cast, starting with Hayden Panettiere (who is picking up where Anne Hathaway left off). Panettiere, along with such costars as Warburton and Close, does a fine job of stepping into the shoes of her character, although there’s really nothing remarkable about the actress’ performance. (Compare Panettiere’s bland yet competent turn with that of, for example, Mandy Moore’s vibrant and exciting voicework in Disney’s Tangled.) The only real standouts here are Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as Hansel and Gretel, as the Saturday Night Live veterans, sporting intentionally ridiculous European accents, generally manage to rise above the silliness of the screenplay and provide the movie with its few laughs.
The Bottom Line
In this era of stellar offerings from Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Disney, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil comes off as an unacceptably incompetent bit of animated filmmaking that’s sure to leave most viewers bored beyond belief. There’s simply nothing here for older viewers to latch onto, and while the movie might keep small children amused, it’s ultimately clear that Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil is simply not worth the cost or trouble of heading out to the multiplex.
Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil was directed by Mike Disa and is rated PG for some mild rude humor, language and action.
Theatrical Release Date: April 29, 2011