Anne Hathaway .... Red (voice)
Glenn Close ... Granny (voice)
James Belushi .... The Woodsman (voice) (as Jim Belushi)
Patrick Warburton .... The Wolf (voice)
Anthony Anderson .... Detective Bill Stork (voice)
David Ogden Stiers .... Nicky Flippers (voice)
Xzibit .... Chief Grizzly (voice)
Chazz Palminteri .... Woolworth (voice)
Andy Dick .... Boingo (voice)
Cory Edwards .... Twitchy (voice)
Benjy Gaither .... Japeth the Goat (voice)
So you think you know the story of little Red Riding Hood? Produced on a moddest budget of around 15 million dollars, Hoodwinked would see a bit of box office success towards the end of 2005 and in the early part of 2006.
I had a chance to view the DVD of this film from the Weinstein Company for the second time on Friday night. My first impression upon viewing this movie a couple of months ago was that it was a really funny animated film. My second viewing not only strengthened that position but I realized that this is more than just a funny movie it is truly well done especially given the budget the animaters were working with.
The story is strong, it takes the conventional tale of little Red Riding Hood and turns it on its ear. I suppose when you watch this film the comparisons to Shrek will be unavoidable due to the subject having to do with fairietales but Hoodwinked is more than just a Shrek clone and in a great many respects, dare I say better than either Shrek or its sequel.
The story opens in Grannie's house, the Wolf is in the bed when Red shows up, there is a confrontation during which Grannie bounds out of the closet still tid up around the same time the woodsman also crashes the party. After the opening credit sequence we see the the house as a crime scene and the cops are looking for answers in this domestic disturbance and they believe that this is connected to the recent goody bandit crime spree that has plagued the woods.
The obvious suspect is the Wolf, but just before he can be arrested Detective Nicky Flippers shows up to conduct his own round of questioning. What follows are 4 stories that eventually all intersect and lead back to the scene at Grannie's house. At the end it is up to the detective to solve the mystery of who is the Goody bandit?
On the whole, the movie works. There really is a lot to like about this film. The producers and directors didn't go for big-named actors just for the sake of having Big name actors as is the trend for some major studios, I'm thinking of you Dreamworks. They smartly chose actors that fit their roles perfectly including veterans of animation voice work David Ogden Stiers (Nicky Flippers) and Patrick Warburton (Kronk of Emperor's New Grove Fame) as the wolf. I think though that my votes for most outstanding work have to go to Anne Hathaway as Red, Glenn Close as Grannie and Andy Dick as Boingo.
In conjunction with the good acting we also have a unique cast of characters. Including a hyperactive squirrel named Twitchy who steals every scene he is in, a mountain goat with a horn for every accasion and a song to match not to mention an Extreme Sports Grannie. The key is that none of those characters and their wackiness seem tacked on, their presence serves the story well and helps move it along towards its conclusion.
The music in the film is also something that deserves high praise. Some of the many songs used in the film are quite catchy. I know this because I have been playing several of them almost non-stop since I finished the movie. I think perhaps my favorites are "Great Big World" which tells the story of Red quite nicely and the goat's song "Be Prepared."
Hoodwinked is multilayered in that you might have to view it more than once to pick up on all of the pop-culture references and parities. That's ok though because it is enjoyable enough that you'll want to sit through it more than once.
Have I seen better movies than Hoodwinked? Yes, but it is few and far between. Many animated films of today are funny but the story is flimsy, or they have a strong story but the acting is subpar. Hoodwinked suffers from none of these problems. If you go in with the idea that you are about to watch a cheap knockoff of Shrek then that may be too much for Hoodwinked to overcome but there is something for everyone to like about this movie.
When I saw on Wikipedia that there is a sequel being planned and that the Weinstein company is hoping to turn this into a franchise, I was not filled with a sense of overwhelming dread like I felt when I heard that the horrible Shark Tale was going to have a sequel. Hoodwinked's characters are so indeering that you wouldn't mind seeing them in further adventures.
I can't recommend it enough and in terms of how much I enjoyed it I have to put it just a shade or 2 below the Incredibles and if you know me you should know how highly I regard that Brad Bird picture.
I give Hoodwinked a score of 4/5.