|Red (Panettiere) attempting the innocent look in Hoodwinked Too!|
Director: Mike Disa
Release Date: 5 May 2011
This sequel to Hoodwinked!, which is a mash-up of Little Red Riding Hood (without the bad character makeup seen in the recent Catherine Hardwicke adaptation) and Hansel & Gretel. Really, the film just takes the characters and picks elements from each story to spin a modern tale fit for your little ones. Many, many of them. Our decision to attend the preview where, suspiciously, four tickets had been issued instead of the regular two should have alerted us to what was to come. What was it that Dylan Moran said about children being like midget drunks? Oh right, just that.
Red (Hayden Panettiere) is off in some far-flung location training with the Sisters of the Hood. Deep. Well no, but kind of funny. Things go awry during a tactical mission where Granny (Glenn Close) and the Wolf (Patrick Warburton) are attempting to save Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler) from the Witch
—and a finer pair of hilariously stereotyped German children, you won't find anywhere else. Granny is kidnapped along with the kids and the H.E.A (Happily Ever After) Agency calls Red back from her training to save the day.
The integration of 3D here is seamless: that said, you wouldn't notice if it wasn't there either and it doesn't necessarily blow minds like it's meant to. As far as animated children's fare goes, all is well up to a certain point. Some of the jokes are really funny, for example, when the Wolf says of Witch Verushka's gingerbread house (Joan Cusack, who was just born for voice acting), 'It's against housing codes to live in any dessert bigger than a cupcake', the cinema just exploded in cackles. The Yokel Goat (Benjy Gaither) playing the banjo is a nice touch, as he uses every opportunity to make up nonsensical songs about his current situation: a troubadour, if you will.
The only downfall here is the rather heavy-handed message about kids eating right and exercising at the end of the film. The writers really could have left it at 'You have the right to a treadmill. If you do not have a treadmill, one will be provided for you' when the H.E.A Agency arrest the now gigantor Hansel and Gretel.
Even though our viewing experience was more like feeding time at the Zoo (but louder), Hoodwinked Too is light-hearted, genuinely amusing entertainment the whole family can watch together.