Director – Mike Disa, Screenplay – Mike Disa, Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards & Tony Leech, Story – Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards & Tony Leech, Producers – Joan Collins Carey & Maurice Kanbar, Music – Murray Gold, Additional Music – Christopher Tin, Animation – Bardel Entertainment & Starz Animation, Director of Animation – Jeff Siergey, Production Design – Ryan L. Carson. Production Company – Kanbar Entertainment
Hayden Panettiere (Red Riding Hood), Patrick Warburton (The Big Bad Wolf), Glenn Close (Granny Abigail Puckett), Joan Cusack (Veruschka the Witch), Bill Hader (Hansel), Amy Poehler (Gretel), David Ogden Stiers (Nicky Flippers), Cory Edwards (Twitchy), Martin Short (Kirk the Woodsman), Cheech Marin (Mad Hog), Tommy Chong (Stone), Phil LaMarr (Wood/Ernesto), Brad Garrett (The Giant), Andy Dick (Boingo the Bunny), Benjy Gaither (Jaspeth the Goat), Debra Wilson Skelton (Iana), Wayne Newton (Jimmy 10-Strings), David Alan Grier (Moss the Troll), Heidi Klum (Heidi)
Granny and the Wolf are now agents of the Happily Ever After Agency, intervening to ensure that good always works out in fairytales. Things go wrong as they attempt to raid the witch’s gingerbread house to rescue Hansel and Gretel. The witch makes an escape during which she abducts Granny. For help, The Wolf calls up Red Riding Hood where she has enrolled at the Sisters of the Hood school to learn kung fu baking skills. The headmistress is about to show Red Riding Hood the school’s sacred recipe for the super-truffle, which can grant ultimate powers – only to discover that the recipe has been stolen. Returning home, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf are paired up by the HEA in order to locate Granny. Meanwhile, Granny discovers that the witch is none other than Veruschka, a classmate from the Sisters of the Hood, who became embittered because she constantly ran second place to Granny. Veruschka is in league with Hansel and Gretel who are only posing at being abducted innocents and have plans for world domination. Veruschka is the one who has stolen the super-truffle recipe and needs to get the secret ingredient from Granny in order to complete the formula.
I hated the original Hoodwinked! (2005). It was one of the spate of films that came out after the huge success of Shrek (2001) that put the fairytale through the deconstruction grinder and readily spoofed and made fun of it. Some of these proved occasionally amusing, such as Enchanted (2007), but the majority were excruciating efforts such as Ella Enchanted (2004), Happily N’Ever After (2006) and the Shrek sequels.
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil has been promised ever since the original came out with various release dates being announced off and on over the last six years. Its uncelebrated and unnecessary presence finally emerges here at the start of the 2011 summer movie season. The production delays have proven the opportunity for the studio to boost the film with another wholly unnecessary gimmick fad of the moment – post-production conversion to 3D. Here, with the animation not too much more advanced than the cut-price work that was employed on Hoodwinked!, the 3D has the effect of making many of the trees in the forest and buildings look exactly like the unfolded dioramas in a children’s pop-up book.
The Hoodwinked! films represent one of the more annoying trends to take over modern fantasy – the overriding of the fantasy milieu with modern quips, pop-culture in-references and smartass one-liners. They are films that seem to need to puncture the essential suspension of disbelief that fantasy should operate on with a knowing modern cynicism. They are entirely about pitching films down to audiences – rather than transporting people into a magical world as a fantasy/fairytale should do, they are about polluting the fantasy with quick-shot gags that designed for modern media-saturated audiences to pick up on. Hoodwinked Too!, for instance, comes chockful of references and gags to other movies and pop songs – Red Riding Hood’s cellphone plays Kung Fu Fighting (1974) while her martial arts training sequences homage Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Kill Bill; there is an elaborate parody of The Silence of the Lambs (1991) during the scenes where they go to visit Boingo the Bunny; the Three Little Pigs quip “I’m going to Tweet this”; while the HEA arrest characters with parodies of the Miranda Rights like “You have the right to a fairy godmother … you have the right to a treadmill” and so on. The city they visit is filled with various brand-name takes on fairytale characters – a gag copied from Shrek 2 (2004). There are also several one-liners breaking the fourth wall and acknowledging the fact that this is a sequel.
I found almost nothing in Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil that appealed in any way, even if in the end it is a less gratingly irritating film than Hoodwinked! was. The gags seem to be about all there is to it. The dialogue is given an annoyingly hip, cynical voicing by most of the cast. To its credit, Hoodwinked Too! moves fast, although almost all of the action sequences are slapstick sequences – notably an incredibly silly one with the Three Little Pigs blowing up the Wolf’s caravan with a rocket launcher. About the only even moderately clever thing that could be said about the original was its borrowing from the basics of Rashomon (1950) to deconstruct the classic telling of Little Red Riding Hood and show that everything was not what it appeared to be. Hoodwinked Too! abandons the retelling of a classic story aspect and is more like a standard detective story set in a fairytale world. At most, it gives us several fairytale characters – Hansel and Gretel, the Three Little Pigs – where their classic portrayal is turned on its head to reveal they are villains. Even the principal characters are different to the ones they were the first time out where they appear to have now settled their differences and joined a law enforcement agency.