Honestly, does anyone recall with any degree of fondness 2005's Hoodwinked? Anyone?
Probably not, and if so then you should get out to the movies more often. There has been much better animated family entertainment since then. Even Doogal could give that Shrek ripoff a run for its money, and Doogal stank. Nobody can sincerely believe moviegoers need a second helping of 'toon table scraps, served with such a lack of creativity. Can they?
I guess so, since Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil arrives in theaters Friday without a single improvement over the original. The animation still resembles the clunky Canadian stuff on Saturday morning TV, and "jokes" strain the definition of that word. The only thing to admire is Anne Hathaway's decision to skip this cheap-o sequel. Hosting the Oscars offered a narrower risk of embarrassment.
Her role as Red Riding Hood is handed over to Hayden Panettiere, whose agent must have worked overtime to convince the actor that this would put her on Hathaway's career trajectory. It was easier persuading a roster of has-been (or nearly so) actors to collect paychecks for a few hours of off-screen work on the chance that nobody recognizes them.
Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil shoves Red into the Sisterhood of Kung Fu Bakers — think Po the panda with spatulas — whose prized recipe is a truffle bestowing superhuman strength. Red's Granny (Glenn Close) knows the secret final ingredient, and she has been kidnapped. So have pudgy Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader, Amy Poehler), by the witch Verushka (Joan Cusack), who wants the recipe.
There's a twist regarding Hansel and Gretel, but mentioning that gives Hoodwinked Too more credit for thought than it deserves. Director and co-writer Mike Disa merely strings together sequences based on overdone pop culture cliches — spoofs of The Silence of the Lambs, Kill Bill and Mission: Impossible, for example — and action sequences conceived as video game levels.
It's all rather depressing because a few million kids worldwide will persuade parents to buy tickets to this thing. Most of them will pay extra for 3-D glasses when nothing about Hoodwinked Too jumps off the screen. That will only encourage the creation of more lazily written, sloppily animated and easily hyped cash traps like this. For the love of movies, stay away.
Steve Persall can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8365.