Friday, April 29, 2011

Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil - A Different Kind of 3D Animated Kids Movie Review

Family Movie Review

Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil in 3D
The Weinstein Company & Kandbar Entertainment
Opens Nationwide, April 29, 2011
Big-time movie critics at industry trades such as Variety and Hollywood Reporter as well as national consumer press like the Associated Press are having a field day with pointing out everything that they think is wrong with Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil.  Not only are they talking about a lack of 3D technical savvy, they're questioning the overall entertainment potential for kids and their parents.

I'm not a professional film critic like any of them are, just a mommy blogger with kids who reviews family-friendly cinema fare.  Nevertheless, I'm going to go out on a limb and disagree unilaterally across the board with these trending opinions about the sequel to Hoodwinked that opens in theaters nationwide on Friday.
My Kids Arrive at the Hoodwinked Too Screening in Beverly Hills
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Last month I reviewed another 3D kids movie, Disney's Mars Needs Moms.  Technically, as well as from an audience experience perspective, that movie and Hoodwinked Too are worlds apart from one another.  A bit like comparing apples to oranges.  

For one thing, we previewed Mars Needs Moms in an IMAX Theater filled to capacity.  That was quite a different experience than the private screening of the latter film at the historic but intimate Charles Aidikoff Theater in Beverly Hills.   Recently acquired by Lightyear Digital Entertainment, this screening location was redecorated in time for the 2011 Academy Awards season.  Aidikoff Theater, by the way, is regarded worldwide for its unparalleled Klipsch sound system, as well for the venue's high quality presentation and technical reliability.
Charles Aidikoff Portrait in the Theater's Lobby by Leith Eaton 
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Secondly, the earlier movie relied on stop motion imaging to render its 3D space-age look.  Hoodwinked Too, on the other hand, succeeds with a whole different technique called stereoscopic or 3-D imaging to create an old-fashioned feel similar to colorful illustrated flat and pop-up fairy tale books published in the U.S. between 1940 and the late 60s.

In the sequel, which is a kids' comedy and fairy tale hybrid, Red Riding Hood is a little older and a lot wiser.  As the movie opens she's training with a covert group AKA the Sisters of the Hood.  But this is no ordinary sorority and Red is abruptly called away by the Happily Ever After Agency to rescue Hansel and Gretel who have been kidnapped by a mysterious witch who hides behind a mask. Next thing you know, Granny, Wolf and Twitchy have joined the rescue effort with grandma jetting off into the sky driving off on a motorcycle, E.T. style.

The film's plot starts out rather slowly and predictably with teenage Red Riding Hood seeming to be happily walking to Grandma's house with a basket of goodies.  Just when children's minds might wander off and lose interest in the story, though, the progress of our heroine in red is threatened by a giant green troll on the bridge that looks like a vicious over-sized Shrek.  The next thing you know, Little Red is bungee jumping off the bridge to propel the story forward.  From that moment the film's pace goes from 0 to 80 miles per hour and maintains high speed all the way until the closing credits start to roll. 

As an entertainment vehicle, the storyline has multiple underlying messages about values for today's youth.  For example, there's the unlikely partnership in the film of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf who join forces to fight evil.  In the classic fairy tale, who could have ever imagined that these two arch rivals would ever be on the same side?  This goes to show that it really is possible for former enemies to become friends and work toward the common good together. 
MommyBlogExpert's Team of Kid Movie Reviewers
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Red Riding Hood exudes all kinds of role models for modern day kids, too.  She's not only a really good kid.  She is also responsible, courageous, faces her fears, takes the initiative, confronts bullies, problem solves, and is always putting others before herself.  Above all, she reveres her Granny and will do anything for her.  Just think what a better place the world would be if all youth followed this young girl's example.

Artistically, Hoodwinked Too is a luscious patchwork quilt of literature and music.  It is  equally amazing and wacky that one movie is able to squeeze not only Red Riding Hood, Granny, and the Wolf, but also Bo Beep and her flock, The Three Pigs, Hansel & Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk and the Giant, along with an assortment of other fairytale characters into the plot.  

Children are exposed to an unusually wide range of vocal and instrumental music -- both classic and modern -- from Opera, Big Band, and Disco to other genres, too.  The Jimmy 10-Strings scene (voiced by singer Wayne Newton) stole the hearts of all my kids, for sure.

This is a movie that empowers children, through background encouragement from the adults, to save the world simply by doing the right thing.  

The Cast
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil in 3D features the voices of Hayden Panettiere (Red Riding Hood), Glenn Close (Granny),  Joan Cusack (Verushka, the Witch), David Ogden Stiers (Nicky Flippers), Bill Hader (Hansel), Amy Poehler (Gretel), Twitchy (Cory Edwards), Martin Short (Kirk the Woodsman), Brad Garrett (Giant), David Alan Grier (Moss the Troll), Andy Dick (Boingo the Bunny),  Cheech Marin (Mad Hog - Little Hench Pig), Tommy Chong (Stone - Little Hench Pig), Phil Lamarr (Wood - Little Hench Pig), Patrick Warburton (the Big Bad Wolf), Wayne Newton (Jimmy 10-Strings), and Heidi Klum (Heidi).  It is directed by Mike Disa; written by Cory Edwards, Tony Leech, Todd Edwards and Mike Disa; and   produced by Maurice Kanbar and Joan Collins Carey.

From what you know so far, what do you think of Hoodwinked Too?  Do you think you'll see this movie?  Why or why not?

FTC Disclosure:  I received movie passes for my family to screen Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil with me to facilitate this movie review.  MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation related to this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

1 comment:

  1. I read the reviews before going to see the movie with my 8 year old son and I expected not to be impressed. However, we both enjoyed the movie very much...and the 3D effects worked for us! I agree with Janis.