a critiQal film review Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011)

Plot: Red Riding Hood (Panettiere) is pulled away from training with the Sister Hoods when she and the Wolf (Warburton) get the call to investigate the sudden mysterious disappearance of Hansel (Hader) and Gretel (Poehler).

428 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 8s)

After seeing the rather quirky re-telling of the classic “Red Riding Hood” tale done detective-fiction style in Hoodwinked (2005), I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome – but little did I know that 4 years later a sequel, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil, would be showing up in theaters.

Now that the sequel is available on NetFlix®, I figured it would be a perfect time to see if the quirky fun could continue, or if Hoodwinked Too! would be nothing but a disappointment.

Thankfully, most of the voice cast is back, including the always entertaining animation staple himself, Patrick Warburton. Some voice changes have been made for this second outing, most notably Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes” (TV)) replacing Anne Hathaway as the voice of Red herself, and Martin Short taking over Jim Belushi’s role as The Woodsman.

Hayden is, surprisingly, not much of a change from Hathaway, with the difference in voices between the two becoming rather negligible. Martin Short is a big change from Belushi in the Woodsman role, but the role this time around is much different for the character as well, making that a welcome voice change. Some of the new minor characters are a blast as well, with David Alan Grier as a hilarious troll on a bridge, and Cheech & Chong lending their voices to some avenging pigs.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the bigger new characters, noticeably Hansel and Gretel, played by “SNL” alum Bill Hader and Amy Poehler. While Bill Hader was great in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), his voice talents are mostly wasted in Hoodwinked Too!, as, despite the film’s best efforts, turns Hansel and Gretel into largely forgettable characters.

The film continues some of the quirky fun of the first, with Patrick Warburton once again picking up everybody else’s slack and delivering quip after hilarious quip in his deadpan tone. He’s the reason The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) spanned a sequel devoted entirely to his rather minor character, Kronk (Kronk’s New Groove (2005)) – and time and time again he’s proven to be an asset to any animated film he lends his voice too.

The music seems to have gotten a bigger role this time around, and sadly, the movie is chock full of bubblegum pop songs that, rightly so, will never get much airplay – to the point where the cheesy pop tunes actually detract a bit from the enjoyment of the film.

With Patrick Warburton keeping the laughs going, even the sadly lacking soundtrack doesn’t hamper Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil from being entertaining…even if it’s not quite the fun we were hoping for.

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