"What big eyes you have-too bad you'll want to gouge them out after this."
“Hoodwinked” is Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s first stab at the lucrative CGI-animation market and if the end results are any indication, they should probably just give it up altogether and stick with their typical slate of adult-themed films.Freely ripping off the likes of the “Shrek” films and the old “Fractured Fairy Tales” that used to appear on “Bullwinkle,” the film opens at the climax of the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”–a confrontation involving a suspicious Red (Anne Hathaway), a disguised Wolf (Patrick Warburton), a hidden-away Granny (Glenn Close) and a clueless woodsman (Jim Belushi).The cops arrive and decide that it is an open-and-shut case that implicates the Wolf as the elusive Goody Bandit, a mysterious figure who has been stealing the secret recipes of all the snack bars in the woods. However, bon vivant frog Nick (David Ogden Stires), a cross between Nick Charles, Hercule Poirot and Kermit, comes along and begins questioning the group himself. Inevitably, we are treated to a “Rashomon”-like structure in which nothing is as it seems and events can carry wildly different meanings depending on who is telling the tale.
At least that is how I think I remember it. Frankly, I was too busy being distracted by all of the enormous and obvious problems with the film. For starters, it is one of the uglier-looking animated films–CGI or otherwise–to come along in a long time–all the characters have a weirdly glassy look to them that resembles a top-of-the-line video game from a system at least two platforms removed from the state of the art. (Having watched the film for the first time on home video, I even sat through a second showing in a theater just to make sure that I didn’t have a faulty disc.) Call me nutty, but if an animated film does nothing else, it should at least be visually interesting. This one, by comparison, just looks faintly repulsive from beginning to end
Another annoyance is the film’s attempts to out-“Shrek” “Shrek” by using the subversion of classic fairy tales as the basis of its humor. The problem is that pretty much all of the best jokes to be miled from that premise were already told in “Shrek” (as anyone who saw “Shrek 2" can attest) and the attempts here come up short by comparison. Red (voiced by an obviously no-longer-little Hathaway) is a martial-arts expert. Granny is a wacky extreme-sports enthusiast and another character suffers from a curse in which he can only communicate through song. Look, I’m not asking for cutting-edge humor here but if there is a joke here that hasn’t been seen in a funnier context somewhere else, I must have somehow overlooked it.As a 10-minute short before the feature presentation, “Hoodwinked” might have been a mildly amusing diversion. However, clocking in at about eight times that length, this is an excruciating exercise that is liable to have most children (and not a few adults) squirming in their seats out of boredom long before it finally comes to a merciful end.