In a world where Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Monsters, Inc.” exist, there is such a thing as run-of-the-mill animated movies. Of these, “Hoodwinked” is the worst kind. It borders occasionally on clever, but never actually is. It pretends to be kid-friendly, but instead is a collection of mildly entertaining twists and turns clearly designed to amuse the very adult minds of the creators. And it isn’t that funny. Sure, there are a few chuckles here and there, but by and large, “Hoodwinked” is Sim City animation, a cast of who’s-who-cares, and some totally unnecessary songs that really stink. Reading the classified section of your newspaper would constitute time better spent.
There is hardly a scrap of “Hoodwinked” that is not pinched from other places. Framed as a whodunnit, “Hoodwinked” pays homage to every cliché’ in Hollywood’s book. In one of the few moments of the picture that deserves high marks for the funny, the Wolf character, voiced by Patrick Warburton(“Seinfeld”) is a direct ape on “Fletch.” Otherwise, the tangled mess of children’s stories and never-ending parodies have some potential, but only rarely add up to a laugh.
While “Hoodwinked” tries to disguise itself as a feature for kids, the songs are the only thing that manages to be on that level. The songs are tragically ungood, even young children have got to recognize the lack of quality on display here. Even the voice of piano-pop stylist Ben Folds can not save this collection from the slamming at the bottom of the barrel.
Animation is a genre that you really can’t half-ass. If you make a animated movie that looks bad, it’s going to be skewered and right quick. This entirely CGI film looks like the next edition of your favorite XBox game. It is possible that it gets harder and harder to impress when it comes to animation with all of its advances, but that really is the measure of this kind of movie. And as long as we are measuring, “Hoodwinked” is not going to register on anyone’s Richter scale.
Watch “Finding Nemo” for the forty-second time. Dig deep into the treasure chest of VHS tapes you forgot you owned and find a “Thundercats” classic to snuggle up with. See if you can recite line-for-line, all the words to your favorite “Aladdin” songs. Or just saddle up to the table and look for a new job, or maybe a farming implement in local newspaper’s classifieds section. Do all this, with the glow of good fortune, knowing, you could have been “Hoodwinked.”