Hoodwinked (2005) movie poster

(2005) dir. Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech
viewed: 01/21/06 at the Loews Metreon Theatres, SF, CA

I was really surprised by Hoodwinked. When I saw the trailer for it, the cheap-looking computer animation really put me off. I honestly thought, that while I am ending up seeing more and more kid-oriented animation with my son, that this was one that I would pretty much miss. And I have seen a couple that really sucked, namely Chicken Little (2005) and Valiant (2005). I figure that at least those films had the Disney production values and were a little more aesthetically pleasing than this one.

But then came another rainy Saturday, and this was the only kid-friendly fare at the Cineplex, and there we were, heading down there for the afternoon.

The character design and execution look like the level of stuff that appears on the Acadamy of Art television commercials, produced by students with low-rent or passe technology. Designed by people who can draw, but don’t really know how to make things look cool or interesting. Namely, Red Riding Hood looks like she is made of plastic as do some of the other characters. It doesn’t feel like “design”, like a purposeful thing, but rather ineptitude or lack of technical capability.

But the film flourishes in it’s writing, I guess. It takes a Rashômon (1950) narrative approach, deconstructing the story by telling it three times, working toward solving a mystery, as well. It’s not nearly as ribald and wild as Tex Avery, but it’s more Tex Avery than anything else, in a sense. Lots of wacky jokes and less stereotyped story points make for a more fun ride than I had expected. There is this tedious “heart of the story” portion about how Red is a repressed adventuress and longs to live a more exciting life. I could have very well done without that.

But it’s hard to fault a movie that is better than one expected. Lowered expectations always help. And in the end, it was better than several kid-oriented animated fare that I had seen recently.

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