Hoodwinked is not a movie. Well, it is, but that is only the medium it is presented in. What it really is, is a pantomime. And a very successful one.
We have the plucky heroine, the dame, and all the rest. Even the songs. The urge to join in with them was getting hard to resist after a while! The only traditional pantomime characters that were missing were the Maid and the Villian. This is not to say that there is not a villian - there most certainly is, but he is not a traditional panto Villian.
Of course, being a pantomime, there are numerous references to current (or current-ish) events (other movies in this case), and various trends of the time. I'll not mention them, as they would spoil many of the jokes and surprises. Suffice it to say that all of the main characters have secrets, and that they all (eventually) come out.
Now, this being an animated movie, the CG is an important factor, and they have chosen to take a comic-book approach - well, more of a fairy-tale book approach - in the design of the characters - which fits very well with the style of the narrative.
The narrative itself is presented very much in a Rashamon sort of way, with each of the protagonists presenting part of the puzzle via police interviews. These interviews only result in part of the story, though, and the missing part makes for a rather cool climax.
For the fans of Jasper Fforde's Jurisfiction and Thursday Next stories, you will see a lot of echos, and some scenes will be eeriely familiar. In fact a lot of the humour comes across as being very Ffordian, making it a real treat for fans of his novels.
In short, 9/10 and the Christmas Pantomime meets Jasper Fforde in a battle to the last laugh!
Very strong story in it too. And a splendid take off of the film Triple X. But keyword here is Rashamon. Look for the subtle differences in the character's perceptions clouding their observations...the keys are there to the mystery. It is a true police procedural, with Dectective Nick Flippers, a wonderful bright green frog, voiced by David Ogden Stiers picking out the consistant threads in each of the witnesses stories. Patrick Warbuton voices the wolf with great panache too!
Nicky Flippers: So, Mr. Wolf... can I call you Wolf? What is it exactly that you do? The Wolf: (heavy on the irony) I'm a shepherd.
The Wolf: [pretending to be a building inspector] Let me level with you, you're an evil genius, right? Villain: Well, I don't know... I wouldn't say genius... The Wolf: Well, you have yourself a cave lair, that's pretty standard. Ever think about putting in a laser? Villain: Well, I don't know... should I? The Wolf: Well it's standard equipment for a cave lair. I'm not saying you're going to zap someone today, but you have to think about the future. Let's look at that power grid.
Nicky Flippers: Or she could just be another victim... of a hungry Wolf The Wolf: Ah, the wolf did it. Talk about profiling. Nicky Flippers: Why should we trust someone who wears disguises for a living? Chief Grizzly: Maybe he's not a wolf at all! The Wolf: You got me. I'm a poodle. I just haven't been to the barbershop.
It's a great, funny, well written independent movie and worth seeing.