Screenwriter: Cory Edwards
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, James Belushi, Patrick Warburton
Running time: 81 mins
An interesting twist on the story of Red Riding Hood, Hoodwinked sees amphibious detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) questioning Red (Hathaway), the woodsman (Belushi), the wolf (Warburton), and Red's granny (Close), prompting flashbacks explaining how the four came together on the famous night. Which, if any of them, is responsible for a spree of Goodie recipe thefts?
Presented in the style of a detective movie, Hoodwinked opens as Red Riding Hood is shocked to find a wolf in place of her grandmother and a manic woodsman crashing through the window. We then see the story coming from four different perspectives, and this is cleverly done, effectively keeping the interest of the adults whilst also being clear enough so as not to confuse children - even if the talk of APBs and such will fly over their heads.
Despite a promising premise, however, there are a couple of hiccups in its execution. Firstly, and most obviously, is the quality of the animation, which looks a good few years behind the times. In a sense it's quirky and not completely without charm, but in the current climate of output from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Hoodwinked isn't the visual treat that audiences have come to expect. Since a fair proportion of the enjoyment gleaned from animated films is their aesthetic appeal, this is hardly a trivial grumble.
The script isn't all it could have been but it does the job. While it does provoke a fair few chuckles, it's not the laugh-a-minute experience offered by the likes of the thematically-comparable Shrek. Some fun has been had with the characters' makeovers - the wolf is a sardonic reporter, Red's a martial arts champion and granny lives for extreme sports - although it's quite often the minor characters who are blessed with the better lines. One of the more memorable of them is the thankfully sparingly-used Twitchy, a hyperactive squirrel closely related to Over The Hedge's Hammy.
Although not the most entertaining of its kind, and certainly not the best-looking, Hoodwinked is consistently interesting and original, and at a manageable 80 minutes it manages to remain enjoyable throughout and avoids stretching the material too far.