Retro Review: Hoodwinked!

Okay, you know that CGI-animation has taken over when the first indie-CGI animated film debuts. That’s right, an indie film that is in CGI. Makes sense, right? Didn’t think so.

“Hoodwinked” is the first computer-animated feature to be released theatrically without a studio backer. Since it’s an indie, you would probably expect it to be sassier, ruder, quick-witted and well revolutionary. Guess what, it’s none of those.

As I sat back and watched Hoodwinked, I found myself thinking just how far computer-animation has to go before it’s a fully established genre by sheer number of titles. In the beginning of CGI, we got spoiled by Pixar sort of like what happened with 2-D animation and the early films of Disney like classics “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty”.

Audiences are starting to see that just because its CGI doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. If they don’t know yet, 2006 should be the wake-up call as a record number of CGI films will be released this year and 95% of them look and feel like crap.

On paper, Hoodwinked is a great concept. The film opens with Little Red Riding Hood (Anne Hathaway) arriving at Granny’s house only to come face to face with the Wolf (Patrick Warburton). The film then splits off as an investigation into how Red Riding Hood, Granny, The Wolf and The Woodsman all ended up at Granny’s house that afternoon. There are cuts to police questioning the suspects and the whole thing unraveling as a “fairy tale CSI-style” if you will.

Like I said cool concept, right?

The problem is that the film runs out of material after the first two stories. Granny as an extreme daredevil and The Woodsman’s back story are all just dumb and really unfunny.

My favorite moments involved Andy Dick’s Boingo, the rhyming-musical mountain goat who is under a curse and Twitchy (Cory Edwards) the hyper-active squirrel who seems like he is on his 20th espresso. These concept characters are hysterical and their showcase scenes are priceless just too bad everything around them wasn’t the same.

The CGI movement dawned and we saw the brilliance. Now that it’s here to stay, we will now see films that are brilliant (The Incredibles), mediocre (Madagascar), tedious (Hoodwinked) and awful (Valiant) as oodles of titles flood this new genre. Just because it’s CGI doesn’t mean it’s a must see.

(2 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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