Monday, August 15, 2011

Hoodwinked Too, Hood vs. Evil on Blu-ray

In 2007 I had the opportunity to interview one of the hardest working men in Hollywood, Patrick Warburton. Since then, his career continues to go full force ahead. He recently revised his role of the Big Bad Wolf in the movie Hoodwinked Too, Hood vs. Evil. While he may not have the primary role, his character steals the show with this star studded cast in this animated movie by The Weinstein Company.

Hoodwinked Too is a fun little family film, fun to watch and quite enjoyable. The animation is top notch and the direction by Mike Disa keeps the story moving forward. While not up to par with Pixar or Disney, the Hoodwinked series has some good material that features a top notch cast featuring the voice talents of Warburton, Glen Close, Cheech Marin, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Martin Short, and the list goes on. While the script gets a little tired at times it is still fun.

The story of Hoodwinked Too is quite simple; Hansel and Gretel are apparently kidnapped by an evil witch who is upset over always coming in 2nd place in various competitions and life. Little Red Riding Hood, voiced by Glen Close and her companion, The Big Bad Wolf, voiced by Warburton team up in order to rescue Hansel and Gretel. Along the way they discover some things about themselves, judgment, friendship, and the need to care for others while giving all people a fair shot.

While there is an understanding that many in the audience have seen the original Hoodwinked, it is likely the audience will get lost if they haven’t. Even though this is a follow up to an earlier film, more character development would have been appreciated. The lack of character development is one of the weaker points of the movie. Some of the sequences, while enjoyable, could have been much stronger with more understanding of the characters on screen. There seems to be an assumption that character development is needed in a movie with a focus on children, unfortunately that seems to be the case here.

Joan Cusack plays the part of Verhuska the Witch. Her character is originally billed as evil, yet we see the potential of change. We also gain an understanding of why some people go the direction they go. In each individual there is potential for change, not just from those we think are bad to do good, but from those who are good to turn bad. Those assumptions about character and personalities, especially when making judgment on first impressions can get people into trouble. If Jesus had chosen the people to follow him that others wanted history would have been different, instead, he chose the downtrodden, the outcast, the common man and woman to associate with most of the time. It was the heart that mattered, and so it is the heart that should matter to us. The theme of change, understanding, and second chances are also themes presented in Hoodwinked Too. Yes there is a battle of good vs. evil but the assumptions of who is good and who is evil is challenged. Those themes are strong enough to carry the movie and make it worthwhile.

Hoodwinked Too isn’t a great movie, but it isn’t bad either. There are moments that are quite enjoyable and thankfully Warburton was used as much as he was in the film as he was the best thing in the movie. There are some good themes and I especially liked the change in characters. There are also fun characters in background roles. While this may be a let down to many, the future of the series maintains hope. I would like to see a move more in the direction like Shrek where we see some hidden adult themes and while some of those exist in a minimal way, they just aren’t strong enough to for an adult audience.

I’m glad I didn’t pay full price to see this movie in the theater. That said, it can still be enjoyable as a rental. There are ample special features which are nice and the Blu-ray transfer in both visual and sound is nice. While there are positive attributes, I wouldn’t recommend the purchase of this film. It will make for an enjoyable family time with some appropriate themes to discuss. It wasn’t bad enough to keep me from watching a third installment if it occurs but that is yet to be determined, hopefully, if it does occur, there will be better story, character development, some of the same quality cast and animators as in this rendition.

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