Friday, 19 November 2010

Flashback: Hoodwinked

I’m not even going to interject on the state of current animation where Pixar has the definitive monopoly. Because, really, what would be the point. What’s kind of weird, though, is that with Pixar recognised as the authority on the form there seems to be a kneejerk reaction to animation from any studio. I was immediately interested in Hoodwinked. Its somewhat original take on the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” reminded me in some ways of Stephen Sondheim’s fairytale-mindf*** of sorts “Into the Woods”. I don’t care to lie, naturally the presence of the legendary Glenn Close didn’t hurt any. I’m not especially skilled in the visual arts so perhaps pay as close attention to animated form as many, I’m mostly interested in the story – and it was there that Hoodwinked landed its very first homerun.
Hoodwinked turns the generally cut and dry tale of children disobeying rules into a whodunit film. Turns out that the wolf may not be the one guily after all – we thus go on a number of vignettes assessing all the parties involved involved. From the not so hospital grandmother, to the very astute Red, the bumbling wolf, the boorish woodcutter and a disconcerting forest creature. If you look hard enough the big reveal at the end of the film is not that difficult to guess, but Hoodwinked works because it’s so hilarious along the way. The concept of looking at appearance and reality perhaps isn’t that poignant because – really – don’t all films try to include that as an overreaching arc? Still, it works especially for Hoodwinked because fairytales are practically begging for close perusals with all their red herrings. Edwards does a good job of turning the generally bland tale (“Little Red Riding Hood” is an awful story) into something interesting and even witty at times.

Yes, the final act has some issues but the resolution ends up working despite that. The voicework is brilliant, not only Close who I'm a big fan of. I'm usually less than pleased with Anne Hathaway but she 's hilarious as Red managing to read off her lines with the perfect tinge of sarcasm. James Belushi and David Ogden Stiers are two other standouts. I’m sure many people didn’t care to give Hoodwinked a chance when it opened in 2005, the reviews weren’t that positive. But I have no faith in Rotten Tomatoes. I saw it, and I liked it – I’m probably alone on that,but I think five years after the fact would be a good time for critics to reassess the initial antipathy towards this one. I don't think they'll be sorry...

1 comment:

Luke said...

Wow! A pleasant surprise to see some reminiscing amongst all the 2010 Oscar bonanza! I have yet to see this one, but it sounds delightful. What the heck happened to Glenn Close's film career anyway?! Let's just start a campaign to get her back on the big screen, okay?