Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Despite the fact the first ‘Hoodwinked’ back in 2005 was met with mixed reaction, and that’s being generous, it was one of my favorite movies of that year with its quirky humor, slightly subversive theme, revisionist fairy tale history and an animation style which was… different. Some would say dated and mean people would say amateurish, but we will say different. Six years, a couple of lawsuits and many delays later we have a sequel with ‘Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil’ which sadly had none of the magic I found in the first movie. Zero. Now I didn’t think ‘Hoodwinked Too’ was the worst movie ever made, just hugely disappointing.

As we join in on our heroes, Red, voiced by Hayden Panettiere this time around, is off training at the Sisterhood of the Hood, or the Hood of the Sisters… like I can remember these things… while Granny (Glenn Close), Wolf (Patrick Wharburton) and Twitchy the hyper squirrel (Cory Edwards) are trying desperately to rescue Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler) from the evil clutches of the Evil Witch (Joan Cusack). That’s an awful lot of voice talent right there. Nonetheless they completely fail at this, largely due to Wolf’s incompetence, with the unfortunate byproduct of this fiasco being Granny getting herself kidnapped as well.

Meanwhile Red has learned at the Hood of the Sisters that she still has a lot to learn. She has some anger management issues to work out, she needs to play better with others and she needs to listen to the advice that others have to give her. Only then will she become a true sister and learn the secret ingredient of the all powerful Chocolate Truffle. It’s complicated.

Then Red gets the word from her boss Nicky Flippers (David Odgen Stiers) at the Happy Ending Agency (HEA)… I think that what it’s called… that Granny has been kidnapped and wasting no time she rushes back home to the rescue. Against Red’s will, Nicky Flippers partners Red with Wolf and Twitchy as they go on a fact finding mission to The Big City where they run into all sorts of mad hijinks and zaniness like

the Beanstalk Giant and the Itsy Bitsy Spider that’s not so Itsy Bitsy, or the three little pigs which have multiplied to a bunch of little pigs and are hell bent on revenge against that wolf that blew their house down and so on and so on.

You see, only Granny knows the secret ingredient that makes the Chocolate Truffle magical, but she’s not giving it out even if this Evil Witch turns those fat Swedish kids into a Bundt cake. Ah, but there is a secret to this witch that has kidnapped Hansel and Gretel, which I’m guessing would’ve been a much better secret if the trailer for this movie didn’t completely spoil it for us, but I’m going to work on the assumption that you haven’t seen the trailer. What is up with that Mr. Marketing Executive? Regardless, rest assured that shenanigans and a kung fu fighting little girl in a red hood with anger management issues will ensue.

My first complaint about ‘Hoodwinked Too’ is that this movie was screened to the audience in 3D. So I’m looking at this movie wearing this second pair glasses and I’m not seeing too much 3D stuff. I take off the glasses and gosh darn if the screen didn’t look exactly the same. Then a couple of minutes later the screen would go a little blurry which I guess meant something 3D-like was happening so I quickly put them back on, but still no 3D-like stuff, but at least the screen stopped being blurry. I just left them on after that comfortable with the knowledge that the Weinstein Company is more than content to soak a couple extra bucks off of the unsuspecting public for a 3D premium while supplying us with no 3D. Whaddayagonnado?

Lame 3D aside, ‘Hoodwinked Too’ isn’t nearly as bad as some have made it out to be, at least in my opinion, but it is so run-of-the-mill, so bland, so (insert word for ‘mediocre’ here) that this movie would’ve been better served to be released as a Cartoon Network special as opposed to a quasi-3D theatrical extravaganza. Even without the comparisons to vastly superior original the movie struggles with jokes that miss their mark more than they hit, there’s plenty of frantic action even though these sequences feel oddly disconnected from the rest of the movie and one thing that I do not understand is that the voice acting from the talented cast was obscurely benign. For instance, Patrick Warburton’s notorious monotone delivery style was hilarious in ‘Hoodwinked’, but in this sequel it was just monotone delivery. How does this happen? This is why I hesitate to criticize Hayden’s Panettiere’s version of Red for not having the same energy as Anne Hathaway’s version of Red since the timing seemed off on almost everyone’s delivery, and that includes Twitchy the hyper squirrel.

Anyway, ‘Hoodwinked Too’ is an animated kids movie, despite some overtly adult pop culture references, and the few kids in the audience seemed to enjoy it. One little girl, who looked to be around six, even said it was best movie she ever saw. I could’ve gotten in her face and said "girl, you stupid!" and then given her my copy Chan-wook Park’s ‘Old Boy’ so she could watch a legitimate great movie… but I didn’t do that. But as we said earlier it’s just disappointing that after six years this is best the filmmakers could muster up as sequel for the original film.

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