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Hoodwinked! (Frank's Take)

01/02/2006. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy Hoodwinked! in the USA - or Buy Hoodwinked! in the UK

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There's always room for a funky-minded fairy tale presented in the form of an engaging animated feature, says Frank. Writer-director siblings Corey and Todd Edwards have a giddy blast retelling the Little Red Riding Hood story in Rashomon-style treatment in the sassy and entertaining Hoodwinked!

Hoodwinked! (2005) Weinstein Company

Cheerfully inventive and spry, the Edwards brothers crafted this narrative where the familiar characters-from Little Red to the woodsman-give their varied viewpoints about the off-kilter events that transpired.

If anything, the fun and flippant Hoodwinked! will capture the imagination of the kiddies while finding some charming elements for the adults to chew on in all its spirited ribaldry. Granted that the 3-D animated presentation has what may amount to an outdated, nostalgic look. And moviegoers may feel rather spoiled by previous offerings such as the eye-popping Shrek franchise that has convincingly revisited the family-friendly frolicking mode with more freshness and originality.



This, of course, would make Hoodwinked! feel like a pleasant afterthought. However, the crew at Kanbar Animation does a decent job with padding a favourable kid's exposition with inspired wackiness. The voice cast is solid and bring about the zesty characterizations with noted aplomb.

As we travel through the forest with these pithy participants, the proceedings are straightforward as we find our inquisitive heroine Little Red (voiced by Brokeback Mountain's Anne Hathaway) confronting the sharp-tongued Wolf (Seinfeld's Patrick Warburton) about his suspicious appearance as her beloved grandmother. In the meantime, Red's Granny Puckett (Glenn Close) is tied up in the closet nearby. Clueless actor Kirk (Jim Belushi) does double duty when he researches his woodsman role while stumbling into a rescue mission involving Little Red.

The plot involves Little Red and Granny who are the fortunate holders of valued recipes throughout the whole region. Apparently Granny Puckett has a profitable business baking and selling edible treats such as pies, cookies and cakes. Mysteriously, there's a Goody Bandit on the prowl who had snatched the treasured recipes behind the flavoured munchies. The question remains this: just who is the Goody Bandit anyway? Could it be the major players such as Little Red, Granny, Kirk the Woodsman or the obvious villainous Wolf? Maybe it's someone outside of the loop?

On board to investigate this wooded area crime wave are detectives represented by Inspector Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), a frog. Interestingly, The Three Little Pigs are the uniformed cops that report their findings to their boss, chief of police Bear. Obviously, Inspector Flippers and company are on a mission to expose the culprit behind the stolen recipes. This allows the various characters as suspects to give their colorful version of events that declare them innocent of such mischief. Others under the microscope include nervous professional cameraman Twitchy the Squirrel and Japeth the Mountain Goat.

Gleefully laced with contemporary pop cultural references and intermittent offbeat musical numbers, Hoodwinked! will appeal to youngsters and oldsters alike that appreciate their family-oriented farces snappy and cockeyed.

The animation may not be in the sophisticated and vibrant class of the Pixar well-oiled machinery but the kooky comedy is viable enough to embrace the nuttiness of an ageless frivolous fable.

Frank Ochieng

Frank Ochieng 2006

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