I guess Red’s dropping in for a quick bite? (oh, stop groaning)

Theatrical Release Date: 04/29/2011
Director: Mike Disa
Featuring the Voices of: Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, Cory Edwards, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, David Ogden Stiers, Martin Short, Brad Garrett, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Phil LaMarr, Wayne Newton, Andy Dick, Benjy Gaither, David Alan Grier
Rated: PG for some mild rude humor, language and action.
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes


Is Red a member of the Chang Sing? Sweet!

It’s rarely a good sign when a movie’s release date is pushed an entire calendar year (or longer). “Hoodwinked” was released in early 2006, and put an updated spin on Little Red Riding Hood; blending slapstick for the kids with more nuanced and cerebral elements for the adults. “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil” was finished and ready for theaters in January of 2010. In doing a little research, I’ve discovered that it’s now April of 2011 … there seems to be a discrepancy.

However, instead of being a sign of poor quality (compiling a list of crap films this happens to would take forever), the issues stemmed from some unknown strategy by the distribution company, The Weinstein Company, which even resulted in a lawsuit. Whatever the case may be, the real question is, should anyone go out and see the sequel?

Of course, that depends on a few factors. If you have kids, that decision has probably already been made for you. Just keep in mind, as noted by the image next to the rating at the bottom of the review, just make sure to AVOID 3D at all costs. It’s so useless one could watch the entire film without the glasses and merely think things were slightly out of focus here or there. Also, should it be a toss up between this and “Rio“, avoid the birds. Easy enough to remember, right?

But what about those of you who haven’t brought new life into the world? Well, if you saw the original, “Hoodwinked Too!” is a bit more polished and flows better in this installment. It’s clear the animation budget was higher, though I’m glad they merely touched up the art style from the first film, maintaining that endearing quality and change of pace from the standard CGI we see in the genre all the time.

Many of the key voice actors are back, with two notable exceptions: Martin Short filled in for Jim Belushi as Kirk the Wood Cutter (the role is small enough that it’s hard to get worked up over) and Anne Hathaway was replaced with Hayden Panettiere for the lead role of Red Riding Hood. Although I personally missed Hathaway (due to an unhealthy crush), Panettiere lent a similar vibe and even sang a little on the soundtrack. She does a nice job, as do all of the other actors.

Key additions came from Joan Cusack as Verushka the Witch, Bill Hader as Hansel, and Amy Poehler as Gretel. All three were entertaining to listen to, especially Hader and Poehler who clearly had a lot of fun with their roles. Cheech and Chong are a nice touch for the adults, voicing two pig henchmen, as is Wayne Newton as an anthropomorphized harp/lounge singer.

Perhaps the only controversial casting would be David Alan Grier as a troll who at one point squares off against our heroine, Red. The kids won’t really notice anything but the character is borderline offensive in its stereotyping of black culture. His role in the film is small and fleeting but it did stick out a bit.

Other than that though, most of the feature was enjoyable and it felt like writers Cory and Todd Edwards (who also wrote and directed the first film) learned from any missteps they made the first time around. Working with director Mike Disa, the pacing is better this time and it made for that rare instance of a sequel working better than the original.

That all being said, I’m not sure if I’d blanket recommend this to anyone other than those who liked “Hoodwinked” or parents just looking to distract their kids. “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil” is fun though considering how dreadful the 3D conversion is, there’s no real reason to see this in theaters and can justifiably be forgotten until it hits the home market. The film gets a 3 out of 5, as it fulfills its obligations but despite the technical improvements, it lacks some of the freshness from the original.

3 out of 53D No