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Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: Blu-ray + DVD Review

Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil (2011) movie poster Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Theatrical Release: April 29, 2011 / Running Time: 86 Minutes / Rating: PG / Songs

Director: Mike Disa / Writers: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech (story & screenplay); Mike Disa (screenplay)

Voice Cast: Hayden Panettiere (Red Riding Hood), Glenn Close (Granny Abigail Puckett), Patrick Warburton (The Big Bad Wolf), Joan Cusack (Verushka the Witch), David Ogden Stiers (Nicky Flippers), Bill Hader (Hansel), Amy Poehler (Gretel), Martin Short (Kirk the Woodsman), Cory Edwards (Twitchy Squirrel), Brad Garrett (The Giant), Andy Dick (Boingo the Bunny), David Alan Grier (Moss the Troll), Wayne Newton (Jimmy 10-Strings), Cheech Marin (Mad Hog), Tommy Chong (Stone), Phil LaMarr (Wood, Ernesto), Benjy Gaither (Japeth the Goat), Danny Pudi (Little Boy Blue), Debra Wilson Skelton (Iana), Tress MacNeille (Vera), Heidi Klum (Heidi), Clarissa Jacobson (Flo), Mike Disa (Helmut, Spider, HEA Agents 1 & 2), Rob Paulsen (Johann), Lance Holt (Klaus)

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Hoodwinked was an obvious choice for sequel treatment. Released at the turn of 2006, the computer-animated comedy was the first hit of newly-formed The Weinstein Company. Grossing over $50 million domestically and $110 M worldwide on a reported $15 M production budget,
it was one of the few clearly profitable movies the Weinsteins had in their rough first years on their own. It received mixed reviews, but the public liked it and they should have, because its Rashomonic take on the story of Little Red Riding Hood was clever and entertaining, comparable to the two Shrek movies that had been made by then.

Timing played a big part in the film's success and in the epic failure of this year's sequel, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil. 2006 would see record output of theatrical animation. By opening on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, the original Hoodwinked preceded the CGI onslaught to come. At the time, fewer than two dozen computer-animated films had played in American theaters, starting with Toy Story. With the exception of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the UK's Valiant, all had turned healthy profits stateside. Computer animation seemed to be a fail-proof medium and every studio around pushed to release a movie in it that year.

As part of her training with China's Sisters of the Hood kung fu bakery, Red Riding Hood welcomes a fight from Moss the Troll. The Big Bad Wolf uses a fake beard to outwit the Three Little Hench Pigs.

Weinstein's Doogal, an Americanization of another UK import, flopped hard in February. Then The Wild, Disney's New York zoo animal adventure strangely resembling DreamWorks' Madagascar, grossed less than half of its budget in the spring. The start of the summer season produced strong performances from reliable industry leaders DreamWorks (Over the Hedge) and Pixar (Cars). But as the summer progressed, the CGI comedies just kept coming. A new one opened in over 3,000 theaters in three consecutive weekends from late July to early August. The market was beyond saturated and the returns kept diminishing, with numerous outright flops (Everyone's Hero, The Ant Bully, Flushed Away, Arthur and the Invisibles, Happily N'Ever After) emerging.

Computer animation has remained popular and lucrative. Five of last year's ten top-grossing films were computer-animated comedies. But the medium has come a long way from novelty status and surefire profitability. The average North American gross has dropped from $167 M in 2005 to $124 M right now, with many middling and low grosses cancelling out massive year-ruling hits like Shrek 2 and Toy Story 3. Certainly, the marketplace is much different these days than it was at the beginning of 2006. Though a beloved franchise like Toy Story could let eleven years pass between installments to record-high demand, a movie like Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, taking over five, violated a statute of limitations for a mildly popular animated family film. Kids who had enjoyed Hoodwinked had either grown up or moved on and the film wasn't on the public's minds long after it hit home video that May.

Hoodwinked Too!'s disastrous performance, grossing just over $10 million even with the premium prices of 3D (a format for which it set a record low among wide release films), cannot alone be chalked up to poor timing and diminished interest. The film also suffered from one of the most bungled releases in memory. Burger King put out kids' meal toys promoting the film in January 2010, a scheduled opening the movie would miss by fifteen months.

The kidnapping of rotund young siblings Hansel and Gretel (voiced by Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) drives the plot of "Hoodwinked Too!" Tied up as a captive of Verushka the witch, Granny won't go down without a fight.

Hoodwinked Too! opens with white text on black screens, its first of a seemingly record three times crediting the voice cast (because that's why you're watching this, right?). The astute will notice that in the role of Red Riding Hood, Anne Hathaway has been replaced with the more available, affordable Hayden Panettiere. In addition, Kirk the woodsman, previously voiced by Jim Belushi, has been upgraded to Martin Short, although the part is little more than a cameo this time around. After those credits, a storybook and narration briefly recap the events of the first movie.

Our story begins with the covert agents of HEA (Happily Ever After) working on a mission. Roly-poly siblings Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler) have been taken prisoner by a nefarious witch in a gingerbread house. Taking their orders from head frog Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), Granny Puckett (Glenn Close), The Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton), and less important employees narrow in on the candy home. The rescue attempt is botched and Granny gets whisked away along with Verushka the witch (Joan Cusack), children, and house.

Such a development requires HEA contacting Red, who for some reason is training in China (with scenes that feel lifted from Kung Fu Panda) with the Sisters of the Hood. It turns out that Verushka herself is a former Sister, who now demands the top-secret, never-written, never-spoken ingredient of the order's most important confection, the Norwegian Black Forest Truffle, a.k.a. the Super Truffle, which grants its eater invincibility. All is not as it seems in Granny's captivity, where half our time is spent, the rest going to Red and Wolf's rescue efforts.

Twitchy the squirrel (writer Cory Edwards) again pops up from time to time. Also returning in a cameo is the first movie's unlikely villain Boingo the Bunny (Andy Dick). New characters include a giant club owner (Brad Garrett), the Three Little Pigs (two-thirds of whom are voiced by Cheech and Chong), and a golden harp modeled after Jimmy Durante (Wayne Newton).

Red, Wolf, and Twitchy Squirrel cling to Jimmy 10-Strings as they take a tumble out of The Giant's nightclub.

In tone, this comic mystery is not far from its predecessor. In success, though, it falls way short.
The crude CG visuals are somewhere in between television ad and children's video game quality. The production values of the original movie, which was made by a team of twenty in a rented house in the Philippines, were lacking, but at least there was the screenplay's wit holding everything up. This one, produced by Canada's Starz Animation (Gnomeo & Juliet, 9), has a great deal less wit and most of it is determined to fly over young heads and connect with their parents. After all, no child should be able to pick up on the homages to Goodfellas, The Silence of the Lambs, and Kill Bill. I fear that even references to "Happy Days" and Star Wars will be lost on the film's presumed target audience.

Clinging to the Shrek model that has gradually fallen out of fashion, Hoodwinked Too! is all for self-referentiality and breaking the fourth wall. It's also a believer in living in the moment, not as any kind of moral, but as in including a Twitter joke, for instance. This movie is certain to age terribly, but without even the benefit of its utterly contemporary stylings meaning something to those who see it right now.

It's sad just how inane this is and though a bad sequel shouldn't be able to do anything to undermine the achievements of the film it follows, it does. The two movies will now blend in one's mind and possibly even get mixed up with the comparably bad and puzzlingly sequelized Happily N'Ever After. Dismissal of Hoodwinked Too! reads like a warning to avoid the series. In truth, even with all its creative failings, Hoodwinked Too makes for mostly painless viewing, but the entertainment value isn't great enough to overlook the lapses in taste and technique.

The first Hoodwinked came to DVD care of The Weinstein Company's ill-chosen video partner Genius Products, who folded in 2009 and passed the rights to Vivendi Entertainment. Hoodwinked Too!, meanwhile, is handled by Weinstein's more reliable present-day video partner, Anchor Bay Entertainment, who debuts the film tomorrow on DVD, the 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD set we review here, and a four-disc Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Blu-ray + DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Most Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Two single-sided discs (BD-25 & DVD-9) / Blue Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $34.98
Also available in Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy ($39.99 SRP), standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP), and on Amazon Instant Video


The animation may be beyond underwhelming, but the Blu-ray's 1.78:1 picture is a perfect representation of the film. Like any direct digital transfer, this one is completely unharmed by any kind of intrusion or drawback. Though the movie itself is not, the video is sharp and vibrant. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is similarly satisfying, although lip-synch is as lacking as anything. Surely, this is no fault of the transfer but of the movie itself, whose voice cast featurettes here suggest at least some lines were unusually added after animation was done instead of the usual other way around.

From what I watched of it, the DVD included here (identical to the one sold separately) is as demonstrative of its format's heights, looking and sounding as good as standard definition allows (which, for most viewers, will be good enough).

Hayden Panettiere also lends her singing voice to the soundtrack, as this "I Can Do It Alone" music video demonstrates. Take that, Anne Hathaway! While his T-shirt pays tribute to animation more enduring, Patrick Warburton lends some welcome, grounded perspective on voice acting, an art he knows a thing or two about. Nice work, pal.


Given the caliber of the film, the modest gathering of extras assembled here feels entirely appropriate. Unlike bigger studios, Weinstein and Anchor Bay don't see reason to deprive DVD viewers/reward Blu-ray viewers with exclusive bonus features; all the extras here are the same on each disc, most presented in standard definition and with notably inconsistent volume levels.

Things begin with three music videos, all of which are seasoned with silent clips from the movie. Out of character, Hayden Panettiere performs "I Can Do It Alone" (3:34), an Auto-Tuned non-diegetic number. Sweaty and suspendered, she sings while looking straight into the camera. Lavay Cole's "You Know It" (3:02) creatively turns a school library into a dance party.
This end credits rap is a song I hope the Academy can remember through next winter. Chorus: "You got hoodwinked too (hood-winked too!) / y-yeah, you know it got you good (you know you got hoodwinked too) / you got hoodwinked too (hood-winked too!) / yeah you know it, y-yeah, you know it / you, you got hoodwinked too!" Ceej's "Perfect Two" (3:13) finds the unknown teenager singing and strumming a guitar in a variety of locations, her red hooded sweatshirt and similarly colored other outfits an apparent nod to Red, who features in the occasional split-screen.

"The Voices" (19:13) devotes a short to five cast members: "Hayden Panettiere as Red" (1:48), "Patrick Warburton as Wolf" (3:57), "Heidi Klum as Heidi" (4:16), "Wayne Newton as Jimmy 10-Strings" (5:18), and "David Ogden Stiers as Nicky Flippers" (3:53). Each features the actor recording lines and talking about their characters, as well as remarks and praise from director/co-writer Mike Disa. It is odd that more attention goes to the less significant performances, but at least these substantial pieces show us some of the process, instead of just parading the stars as more promotional animated movie featurettes have done.

Watch the music videos:

Hayden Panettiere - "I Can Do It Alone":

Lavay Cole - "You Know It":

HEA head Nicky Flippers reacts with panic to a Code Red situation in the shorter of two storyboard sequences. Kirk the Woodsman shows off his fabulous new look as a stage performer in this production artwork gallery still.

Two storyboard sequences (4:29) show us two scenes with temp voice tracks and pencil drawings. Such a standard, unremarkable feature at least confirms a degree of planning to the picture that you otherwise might doubt.

"Production Artwork" is a simple viewer-navigated gallery (hi-def on Blu-ray) of 38 promotional character and location stills.

The extras conclude with two short, blurry, low-tech ads for Hoodwinked Too! mobile phone video games (0:40).

Both discs open with trailers (the Blu-ray's in hi-def) for Spy Kids: All the Time in the World and Rio (returning Fox's favor, no doubt to fewer eyes). Trailers for both Hoodwinked movies are nowhere to be found.

The jazzily-scored main menu emulates the look of spy surveillance with a mostly routine montage. The DVD simplifies it, dropping small side montages. The Blu-ray disc neither supports bookmarks, nor reliable resuming of playback. That makes it inferior to the DVD in at least one way.

The full-color Blu-ray Disc and plain silver DVD take opposite sides of a standard slim Blu-ray case, with the latter covered by a Dippin' Dots coupon (free small cup!) that doubles as an ad for an "Endless Summer" Sweepstakes. Surprisingly, there is no slipcover here.

The Giant is the second big guy Red stands up to in "Hoodwinked Too!" Boingo the Bunny, the first film's surprise villain, makes a brief Hannibal Lecter-inspired appearance.


I've reviewed four new animated movies in the past month. Of them, Hoodwinked Too!, is a distant fourth in quality.
That this is a sequel and to a film I found surprisingly entertaining works to its disadvantage, because Hood vs. Evil has the same low-tech design as the original but very little of its humor, cleverness, and fun. Whether or not you liked the first movie, I doubt you will enjoy this one, which is worth seeing only to demonstrate to you the lower tier of today's generally pleasing if overly formulaic CG comedies.

Weinstein and Anchor Bay have put together a pretty nice package for the film, with a predictably flawless feature presentation and a standard but satisfying half-hour of bonuses. This Blu-ray + DVD combo also carries a list price $5 to $10 below competitors, though that appears to be lost in dissimilar discounting. In any event, this clearly isn't something you need to see, let alone more than once.

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Related Reviews:
2011 Animated Movies on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack: Gnomeo & Juliet Rio Mars Needs Moms Rango
Computer Animated Comedy: Shrek the Third Tangled Shrek the Halls Kung Fu Panda
New: The Fox and the Hound & The Fox and the Hound 2 (Blu-ray + DVD) | The Weinstein Company Animation: Igor TMNT

The Voice Cast of Hoodwinked Too!:
Hayden Panettiere: Alpha & Omega A Bug's Life Remember the Titans (Director's Cut) Dinosaur
Patrick Warburton: Kronk's New Groove The Emperor's New Groove | Glenn Close: 102 Dalmatians Tarzan II
Joan Cusack: Toy Story 2 | Martin Short: Treasure Planet The Spiderwick Chronicles | Cheech Marin: Cars
Bill Hader: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian | David Alan Grier: Angels in the Infield
Amy Poehler: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! | David Ogden Stiers: Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch

List of Songs Featured in Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: Benjy Gaither & Stefan Marks - "Hit by a Motorcycle", Bill Hare - "Kung Fu Fighting", Dan Myers - "Big City", "H.R. Pufnstuf", Wayne Newton - "Living in a Fairytale (With You)", Wayne Newton - "Look Out Shorty!", Benjy Gaither & Stefan Marks - "Visiting in the City", "Schnitzel", "Urban Talk Show", Hayden Panettiere - "I Can Do It Alone", "Shark Attack!", Theo Bleckmann - "Kung Fu Fighting", Benjy Gaither & Stefan Marks - "Singing by the Campfire", Benjy Gaither & Stefan Marks - "Going to the Airport", "Mambo Cha Cha", Lavay Cole & Andrea Remanda - "You Know It", Benjy Gaither - "Lucky Goat", Hayden Panettiere - "Inseparable", Dan Myers - "Little Squirrel (Forage for Your Life)", CeeJ - "Perfect Two"

Buy Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack:
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Buy Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: Original Motion Picture Score by Murray Gold:
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Reviewed August 15, 2011.

Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2011 The Weinstein Company, Kanbar Entertainment, Anchor Bay Entertainment,
and The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.