Little Red Riding Hood and friends get a hip treatment in Hoodwinked. Too bad it falls on its face. The movie tries to out-Shrek Shrek, but is missing a compelling story, good animation, and a general reason for being. Sure little children will like it, only because there are colorful things moving on screen, talking animals and a skydiving granny, but a movie needs to do more than this to be worth watching. Despite everything happening on screen, Hoodwinked, and it's kiddie take on Rashomon, manages to be incredibly dull. Cops break up a fight between a wolf, a granny, a little girl, and a crazy lumberjack in a cottage. Their subsequent interviews reveal what is really happening.

Somebody is stealing goody recipes and putting all the local bakers out of business (people could memorize their recipes, but hey, it's a kids movie). Red (voiced by Anne Hathaway, Brokeback Mountain, The Princess Diaries 2) is afraid that she's next, and decides to take her grandmother's recipe book back to her grandmother. Unfortunately, her grandmother lives far up the mountain, and the journey there is dangerous. Once she arrives, she finds the Wolf (voiced by Patrick Warburton, Chicken Little, Sky High) waiting in her grandmother's bed, disguised as her grandmother. Soon, they begin fighting, and Granny (voiced by Glenn Close, The Chumscrubber, Nine Lives) emerges from a closet, tied up.

As Inspector Nicky Flippers (voiced by David Ogden Stiers, Disney's Teacher's Pet, Lilo & Stitch) interviews each suspect, he realizes that nothing is what it seems. It was a fun premise, but writer/directors Todd (Chillicothe) and Cory Edwards, and Tony Leech spend too much time filling the movie with random action sequences. Red knows karate. Granny does all sorts of extreme sports. There are fights, mine car rides, avalanches, and falling trees. All of this hides the fact that there isn't much of a story. And unlike most kids movies, there isn't a moral lesson (again, nothing necessarily wrong with that). So there is a bunch of things happening on screen that amount to little, and a main character (Red) that is often a bit annoying. The most amusing character is Twitchy, a highly caffeinated squirrel (voiced by Cory Edwards) who speaks a mile a minute.

The animation is so-so. It's not at the top end of the spectrum, but there are plenty of films worse than Hoodwinked. The animals look good, but the human characters, especially Red, look a tad on the creepy side. The visuals are interesting, as he forest is a mix of traditional Grimm Brothers iconography mixed in with a couple of modern elements (a sky tram for instance). Animation should be a complement to the story, and Hoodwinked would not work as traditional or computer animation. The Edwards and Leech are just trying too hard to make things cool and funny, forgoing anything of substance underneath.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 20 minutes, Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements.

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