Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'd Been Hoodwinked!

The other night when Bart and I gathered at Banky’s place for our weekly visit with him, Clara, Buttercup & Josiecat, I discovered once again that the “don’t judge by how it appears” rule applies.

Josiecat brought us a movie to watch. I knew of it. And I had dismissed it as something that I need not see. You know how it goes... it just looked like the type of stuff cranked out with all flash and no substance. Well, obviously the presentational packaging (trailer/ads) didn’t do it justice. To my surprise, Hoodwinked is a gem!

A spin on the well-known tale of Little Red Riding Hood, it had been a welcome change from the recent semi-letdown of Red Riding Hood. There’s a LOT packed into Hoodwinked. And all of it is delightful.

It actually begins with the old adage of not judging a book by its cover, opening up a storybook as it does so. We’re then told that there is more than one side to every story, also very true. We start the tale this time around with Red entering Grandma’s house and encountering the Wolf dressed as Grandma. It’s obvious that Red is not fooled, but plays along in the sense of buying time. Shortly after, Granny bursts out of the closet and then, well, the real fun begins.

Grandma’s house is now a crime scene - yellow “Caution Do Not Cross” strips, cop cars and everything. Each ‘character’ is questioned by the police (the chief is a bear) and gives their side of the story. As such, we are then treated to skipping backward in time to when their “real” story started. For instance, we now see Red leaving her place, getting on her bike and traveling to Granny’s. Along the way we notice various things we do not quite understand, such as the woodcutter looking awfully dejected and follow Red’s soon to be misadventures all the way up until she opens the door to Grandma’s house. Also for instance, in her version, the Wolf is quite intrusive and frightens her with an attack and she runs from him.

Well, then comes the Wolf’s side of the story. His over-inquisitiveness about the contents of Red’s basket and her destination? Oh, he’s really a reporter, you see, trying to crack the case of who has been stealing all the recipes for Goodies across the forest and putting everyone out of business. (Granny’s recipes [the best Goodies of all] are highly prized by whoever the bandit happens to be.) We’re then treated to the Wolf's misadventures. Thus, we now see what really happened in some parts. Like that ‘lunge attack and growl’ upon Red? His squirrel helper’s shenanigans crunches his tail and he’s really crying out and moving in pain. (Red saw it otherwise!)

It goes on... retelling each ‘day’ of each character and we therefore learn the truth about how things really played out. We find out why the woodcutter looked despondent. We find out why Granny had been tied up in the closet (which the Wolf swears had already been the case when he arrived - and my my my is it hilarious how it really goes down.)  [I tend to applaud this type of interlocking 'point of view' story in the first place.  The Simpsons also has a wonderful version of it.]

But it doesn’t stop there. Nope. The telling of the truth by each character only takes up a portion of the movie. From then on, it’s an action adventure as the characters race to find and capture the infamous bandit. And it never loses sight of that crafty wit and great story.

All of it is peppered with humor of the slapstick and pun varieties. And all of it is wonderfully entertaining. I must say the writing is ingenious. Funny lines coupled with tightly knit and unexpected ideas. I suppose one would compare it to the Shrek franchise - a la twisting the land of fairy tale with anachronistic and our-worldly themes. The similarity is there, yes, but the focus is quite different. Hoodwinked stands on its own, reminding me of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle shorts Fractured Fairy Tales. While Shrek is wonderful, it’s does not have the same drive and layers of Hoodwinked.

It has terrific vocal talent, too. Among others you’ll find Anne Hathaway, Patrick Warburton, David Ogden Stiers and Glenn Close.

I enjoyed this one immensely. Thank you, Josiecat, for showing it to us. I’m so very glad that I’d been wrong.

And I must say the title, although ‘cutesy’ is truly apt. The characters are not only hoodwinked, but it’s taking a wink at the story of Hood.

It’s really too bad that this movie, among a slew of other sub-par and quick-buck animated features, got lost in the woods.

P.S. - Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil will be out April 29. And yes, the way this one ends, the sequel is warranted and welcomed. Guess who will be going!


Anonymous said...

Check out Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil on Facebook!

Peter Von Brown said...

I probably will eventually. Fact is I only 'Like' things that I'm sure about actually LIKING, and I haven't seen "Too" yet (obviously.) :)

Thanks for stopping by to let me know it's on Facebook, but I wish you'd followed the instructions for posting. ;D