Not So Grimm
There’s no question that there’s something whacked-
Hoodwinked is from a new animation studio, Kanbar, and if they were going out of their way not to look like they were aping Pixar, well, they certainly succeeded.
The nonhuman characters don’t have that night-
And for a while, that’s all Hoodwinked is: a pointless parody of human behavior as performed by animals as the woodland creature cops come to Granny’s house to investigate a “domestic disturbance.” Red (the voice of Anne Hathaway: Brokeback Mountain, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement) arrived at the home of her grandmother (the voice of Glenn Close: Nine Lives, Heights) only to find a big bad Wolf (the voice of Patrick Warburton: Chicken Little, Sky High) lying in wait. Things go bad, the cops are called, and here’s Red telling her side of things to the authorities. Her tale is rather banal, and at times even random and nonsensical — she has to ask for directions to Granny’s house? hasn’t she been there a million times before? — and Hoodwinked is just a pop-
But then something almost miraculous happens. Red steps aside, and the Wolf starts relating his story, and suddenly everything snaps into sharp focus: the satire gets genuinely satirical, the humor gets actually funny, and surprises galore start rolling out at us. This really isn’t a Grimm fairy tale, and it really isn’t Shrek warmed over. Hoodwinked suddenly becomes its own unique monster, smart and witty and original, with points to make about the prejudices forced upon us by our limited perspectives and the benefits of just slowing down in the heat of the moment and taking the time to hear the other guy’s point of view.
And the flick gets sweetly goofy, too, so much so that you start to be able to overlook the scary CGI. Now, partly, this is due to Patrick Warburton, who simply can’t help but be funny merely by showing up, can’t help but be funny in his pauses. And then there’s his sidekick, a hyperactive squirrel called Twitchy (who doesn’t really speak much but whose nervous jitterings are voiced by one of the writer/
There’s a sequel in the pipeline, of course. And the prospect doesn’t, actually, fill me with the kind of dread such things usually do.