Dir: Cory Edwards. US.2005. 81mins.
Written and directed by a trio of virtually unknownfilm-makers, computer animated family comedy Hoodwinked feels like a cheap and cheerful cross between Shrek and
Award recognition would, ofcourse, boost the theatrical prospects, but while the film has been named oneof the ten 'semi-finalists' for the animated feature Oscar, an actualnomination seems like a long shot.
Picked up for North Americaby The Weinstein Company, the cartoon starts an Oscar-qualifying run in LosAngeles this weekend and is set to go wide in the US on Jan 13. The rescheduledrollout (the opening was originally set for Dec 23) might help
Outside the US, independentdistributors acquiring the film from seller Cinema Management Group may be ableto reap decent theatrical and video returns, especially if they can secure locallyrecognisable talent to re-dub the dialogue.
Writer-directors CoryEdwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech previously made live action comedy
For their feature animationdebut they received backing from KanbarEntertainment, run by New York entrepreneur and inventor Maurice Kanbar and former Disney executive Sue Bea Montgomery.
The familiar fairy tale herebecomes a woodland crime story, told Rashomon-style, with a frog detective (voiced by Ogden Stiers) and bear, pig and stork cops investigating the'domestic disturbance' at Granny's cottage. In this version, someoneis driving all the woods' goody merchants out of business and 'Red' (
What happens then is retoldin flashback, first by Red, a bright young woman who longs to explore the widerworld; then by the Wolf (Warburton), who turns out to be an investigative reporter;then by an oafish Woodsman (Belushi) who is actuallya schnitzel delivery guy and wannabe actor; and finally by Granny, whose secretpassion for extreme sports is revealed as the story unfolds.
There is a moral to the tale- Granny realises she's been over-protective with the adventurous Red - butit's given less prominence than the lessons delivered in most animated familyfilms. Comedy is the priority, and though the jokes aren't especially clever (
The voice performers,several of them experienced on bigger budget animated projects, help make upfor what is the sometimes only TV-standard computer animation. All theperformers are strong, but the standouts are Andy Dick (
The dozen or so catchyoriginal songs, mostly performed by co-writer-director Todd Edwards or voicecast members, are another asset. Written in styles ranging from rock throughcountry to hip-hop, some - like the very funny bluegrass numbers sung by ablind goat - are purely comic, others fairly straight.
Blue Yonder Films
The Weinstein Company
Cinema Management Group
Sue Bea Montgomery
David K Lovegren
John Mark Painter
Main cast (voices)
David Ogden Stiers