Reviewed by Melissa Minners
So you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, eh? Well, brothers Cory Edwards and Todd Edwards beg to differ. They have chosen to tell us the story you might know if you “just read between the lines” of the age-old fairy tale. This is the premise behind the animated film Hoodwinked.
There is “trouble in the hood”, or so the movie tagline goes. Some fiend, cleverly dubbed the Goodie Bandit, has been stealing the recipes of goody shops throughout the area. Seeking to keep Granny’s goody recipes safe from the bandit, Red (AKA: Little Red Riding Hood) travels to Granny’s house, high up on the mountain, recipe book in tow. Of course, as the story goes, Red walks in to Granny’s house to find a wolf in Granny’s clothing. Suddenly, the closet bursts open and out jumps Granny, wrapped from head to toe in rope.
Here’s where the story gets fantastically twisted, for when Red prepares to take on the wolf, a huge axe-wielding woodsman comes crashing through the window. Exit out of the scene. We enter hours later to find that Granny’s home has become a crime scene handled by a bungling Chief and his “pig” cops. Yes, unfortunate for cops everywhere, there were animated pigs in uniform. A crude joke, but humor that is decades old in origin. We find that Granny, Red, The Wolf, and The Woodsman, have all been taken into custody.
The Chief of Police believes that one of the people in the room is not telling the truth and that perhaps this all could be tied to the Goody Bandit thefts in the area. Enter Detective Nicky Flippers, a suave frog with a knack for getting down to the bottom of things. As he questions each suspect in turn, the theme behind this movie – never judge a book by its cover – comes to the forefront. We learn Granny’s secret passion for Extreme Sports, the Wolf’s real identity, The Woodsman’s secret hopes for an acting career, and Red’s yearning for something more to life than delivering Granny’s delectable wares.
By the end of the movie, Flippers has solved the case of the Goody Bandit, but not before Red nabs him in the act. Confronting the criminal, Red finds that she has gotten herself into more than she bargained for and it’s up to Granny, The Wolf, his partner Twitchy the squirrel, and The Woodsman to save her.
Several writers have tried to give Little Red Riding Hood a back story in the past, but never has a full-length feature movie been devoted to the task. Writers Cory and Todd Edwards proved up to the task of making a charming yet funny animated movie that would not only be appealing to children, but adults as well. In the tradition of Shrek, Hoodwinked contains entertaining fun for the kids, but also veiled jokes and stabs at society that only an adult can fully appreciate. Turning Granny into Triple G, an obvious reference to the XXX movies about an extreme sports phenomenon turned secret agent, was hysterical. I particularly loved Twitchy. In fact, it was a promo scene involving Twitchy and the Wolf and a stick of dynamite that Twitchy mistakes for a candle that made me want to see the movie in the first place…well, that and the karate kicking action of Red.
Behind the scenes of Hoodwinked, resides an ensemble cast of actors brilliantly vocalizing the characters of the movie. Glenn Close is remarkably unrecognizable as the voice of Granny – I had to do a double take when I saw her name listed in the credits. Anne Hathaway, of Princess Diaries fame, is the voice of Red. David Ogden Stiers is the distinguished voice behind Nicky Flippers and Andy Dick is perfect in his vocalization of Boingo the Bunny. Round off the cast with Patrick Warburton as the Wolf, Jim Belushi as The Woodsman, Chazz Palminteri as Woolworth the Sheep, and Xzibit as Chief Grizzly and you have one hell of a cast.
Hoodwinked is an animated tale for all ages and could very well end up becoming a sequel, as the ending may suggest. Perhaps the group could travel to Humpty Dumpty’s town to discover the truth behind the poor shell of an egg’s demise. One could only hope!