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Hoodwinked!: A narratively smart, but visually ugly movie.

I don't think I've been quite so torn on an animated movie as I am with "Hoodwinked!". This film seems to be another take on the fairy tale parody genre which was started by "Shrek" back in 2001, but unlike other poor imitators, this film is actually quite clever. In fact, it's one of the most intelligent and clever animated movies I've seen in quite some time. However, I still can't fully bring myself to really recommend this movie. It's strange to say that, but I'll have to explain in great detail why this movie can't quite be fully recommendable despite having some really good elements to it.

The story seems to initially play out like the average retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The young Red (Anne Hathaway) shows up at the house of Granny (Glen Close) only to find a wolf (Patrick Warburton) disguised as her while the real one is tied up in the closet. After some interrogating from Red involving the wolf's interesting qualities, a woodsman (Jim Belushi) bursts in only to startle everyone. However, this series events only ends up bringing in the police and all four of them are instantly made a suspect and are questioned about what led to this strange scenario. From there on out, the story shows us the four characters are individually questioned by Detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) about what lead to the strange incident at Granny's house and how they could possibly be connected to a strange thief called the Goodie Bandit.

Like I previously stated, this film really does have a very clever and interesting story. Seeing the point of views told from each of the four characters was quite fun and did lead to some rather funny jokes. A lot of really good effort went into the screenplay for this film because the writers clearly thought this story through and decided to have fun turning this simple fairy tale into a sort of crime mystery. I think the only issue I had with the story might've been that the reveal of who did it was pretty predictable and that led to the film having a very lousy and pathetic third act. Even the characters are all a lot of fun and I think their voice actors are probably the reason why they work in the end. I think Patrick Warburton being a smart aleck Big Bad Wolf was pretty funny and even Red makes for a likable protagonist with Anne Hathaway's voice really boosting it. Also, I got to admire David Ogden Stiers playing the detective. I thought that was a clever casting choice. Though despite how good the characters and story are, there is one major thing that really holds this movie back from me really recommending it and that's the animation. This animation is quite honestly some of the worst animation I have ever seen in my entire life. Even by 2005 standards, this animation is still awful considering that films like "Shrek 2" and "The Incredibles" came out the year prior. This whole film is visually ugly and just looks cheap and limited. The world is bland and boring and feels lazily done and even the character models don't look appealing. The fur and hair textures just looked so plastic-like to me that I did not buy it for one single second. To me, it looks like a very bad PlayStation video game that came out in the late 90s. From what I've read, I heard the studio was financially restrained and they decided to make the film look like it was stop-motion inspired. Though this honestly makes me wonder why they just didn't make this film in stop-motion animation. I think that would've been a more suitable medium for this story. The only way I think this movies animation quality would've been acceptable is if it were a student film. That's it. Also, I'm not a fan of the songs either. I thought all of them were dull and just made the movie drag.

I feel kind of bad for having to criticize"Hoodwinked!", but unfortunately, the movie is just not up there to be considered great. It has a great story and it has some fun characters, but the animation is just so terrible and the songs are so boring that it's simply not worth recommending as is. In an age where things are getting a re-animated treatment on YouTube, I feel this is something that desperately needs it. I think the story and characters are there and really are great. Hopefully, some animators can give this film a new fresh coat of paint with some brand new and much better-looking animation and it'll be there. As is though, it's a film that had the potential to be great, but unfortunately fell a little flat.


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