Disney tends to be the main culprits of taking classic stories like Sleeping Beauty and C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and adapting them to film. Out of the blue comes Kanbar Entertainment with Hoodwinked! – a fresh, original tale of the well-known story of Little Red Riding Hood. They managed to take the beloved childhood story and twist it into a computer-animated, very unusual and very funny movie.
That sweet little innocent girl who we have always pictured with a basket full of pastries en route to grandma’s house is now Red (voiced by Anne Hathaway), a karate loving, feisty young woman who dreams of a life outside the woods. The other characters are not what you expect either – Granny (Glenn Close) is part baker and part extreme sport’s enthusiast; the Big Bad Wolf (voiced by Patrick Warburton) is a vegetarian and a misunderstood journalist just trying to clear his name. It’s a breath of fresh air considering the vast amount of thoughtless animated rubbish being produced on a conveyor belt like The Wild and the goofy Space Chimps.
The characters themselves aren’t just interesting though, the way the story is told is too. Hoodwinked! picks up right where the fairytale ends. The police are questioning the previously mentioned characters as well as a gent known as the Woodsman (voiced by James Belushi) about their connection with the ‘Goody Bandit’ (a thief who is stealing recipes). Each weaves their story through their own perspective via musical flashbacks (I especially liked the Woodsman’s flashback – there is a good “What the schnitzel?!” one-liner in there). The entangling of their different experiences in the past is a very clever way of telling the story and helps to tie up all the narratives in a satisfying way.
The playful script also helps to drive your attention away from the biggest shortfall of the movie – the cheap-looking animation and the slowly eroding story line. Unfortunately, in today’s climate any and all animation gets compared against the work of Pixar. This, well let’s just say this doesn’t quite live up those standards. Also helping mask the low-cost look is the music. It is lively and engaging and it is another reason why I enjoyed Hoodwinked! so much.
Silly story and questionable animation aside there is also a meaningful, yet subtle, message for children (and for adults), which is not to judge a book by its cover. This is shown through the characters having appearances that do not reflect their true personalities. Case in point, you don’t see an old, cake-baking grandmother winning medals in professional wrestling often, do you?!
All told, Hoodwinked! is a sensation and proves that a well-known and classic story doesn’t need to be taken in by Disney to be a decent, fun family movie. With the unpredictable twists and cheeky characters it is nearly impossible to not enjoy this light-hearted feature.