This is a sequel to the 2005 film, “Hoodwinked!”  This version starts out with a kidnapping, but, like the first version, also involves a crime of stealing a secret recipe.  When the movie opens, Red Riding Hood (voiced by Hayden Panettiere) is off at the Sister Hoods getting further training in martial arts and cooking.

When Red is finally located, she and Wolf are instructed to work together—which pleases neither of them—in  investigating the kidnapping of Hansel (voice of Bill Haden) and Gretel (voice of Amy Poehler).  Soon, Red learns that her grandmother (Glenn Close) has been kidnapped as well.  Red and wolf are recruited by the HEA—Happily Ever After, a counterpart to the CIA or FBI—to find all three of them.  After a number of mishaps, she does discover where they are, but it will take a lot of teamwork to rescue them.  In the process, things are not exactly as they seem, which nicely adds more interest to the story.

I’m not sure how much kids really get what is going on during the first part of this movie.  The action is fast, loud, and confusing, and contains constant bickering.  Clearly, some of the words were not for children, such as ‘sherpas’ and ‘bratwurst’, so as per usual, it seems the filmmakers were as interested in appealing to adults as to children.  There was actually bickering throughout the movie.  Why model bickering as a way to work together?  These filmmakers could learn much from the Scooby Doo screenwriters.

Nevertheless, there are some edifying messages for children embedded in the story, such as not to lose one’s head and be impulsive when taunted.  It’s better to work together than to try to be a hero all on one’s own.  Loyalty and forgiveness are modeled as well.  The message at the end is both clever and funny; greed can get you into big (pun intended) trouble.

Grade:  C

Donna R. Copeland