Hoodwinked

Opens Fri., Jan. 13, at Pacific Place and others

Little Red Riding Hood gets a modern, CG-animation makeover, which considerably erodes the original folklore story's charm. With the Woodsman (voiced by Jim Belushi) now a dim-witted actor desperate to land a bunion-cream commercial and Granny (Glenn Close) an extreme-sports enthusiast, Hoodwinked quickly devolves into a silly series of alibi vignettes. Each character must vouch for his or her innocence to the cops, who are investigating a criminal disturbance at Granny's house. The forensic film moves backward from the discovery of the crime, like CSI, only without the gore—here the wolf (Patrick Warburton) has not been slain.

Watching Hoodwinked is like watching a very long video game, without the satisfaction of wielding the controller or—most important—the on/off switch. You half expect a game score to pop up on-screen after Granny extreme-skis through bleary scenery. (She and other characters are rendered in 3-D, while all the movie's backdrops are frustratingly flat.) The characters themselves are simplistic and stiff: While the limbs of Toy Story's Woody dangled with the correct force of gravity, Hoodwinked's characters hover and halt as if controlled by a joystick. While Pixar creations have always been realistically emotive, the mouths in Hoodwinked— created by brand-new Kanbar Animation Studio—move without disturbing other facial features, suggesting extreme Botox or merely bad software.

Just after Brokeback Mountain added a respectable role to Anne Hathaway's filmography, her decision to be the voice of Hoodwinked's Red is a mystery. Close's presence is also puzzling. The random, disjointed plot twists don't make any sense, and it's unlikely that audience members over age 10 will still be awake by the time Andy Dick (as Boingo the bunny) takes the spotlight to provide what little humor is to be had. Parents, bring a pillow, because you're in for an 80-minute nap. (PG)

 
comments powered by Disqus