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Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service

The same studio which brought us the best film of 2010, "The King's Speech," now presents what will likely prove one of the worst of 2011: "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" (Weinstein).

Though objectionable elements are few, and mostly consist of childish potty jokes, viewers expecting Pixar—or DreamWorks-style enchantment—from this 3-D animated sequel to 2006's "Hoodwinked!" are in for a big disappointment: The script is unoriginal, the production substandard, and the voices are as tired as the frequently clumsy action sequences.

Once again, things have gone awry in the fairy-tale world. Hansel and Gretel (voices of Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) have been kidnapped, and the prime suspect is Verushka the Witch (voice of Joan Cusack). This is clearly a job for the super-spies of the Happily Ever After Agency, led by the long-legged frog Nicky Flippers (voice of David Ogden Stiers).

A rescue mission is mounted, headed by Granny Puckett (voice of Glenn Close) and the Big Bad Wolf (voice of Patrick Warburton). Wolf is missing his partner, Red Riding Hood (voice of Hayden Panettiere), who is away receiving kung-fu training from the "Sisters of the Hood"—not nuns with martial arts skills, happily, but a group of enlightened high-kicking ladies who also bake.

Without Red, the mission is a failure, and Granny is captured. Verushka chains her to the stove, and demands that she whip up the world's biggest weapon—a chocolate truffle (of all things) that renders the eater invincible. Granny, you see, is herself a Sister of the Hood and knows the recipe.

Red must be recalled to save the day. "Will the villains get their just desserts?" she asks. Does anyone care?

Directed by newcomer Mike Disa, "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" is a pastiche, freely stealing scenes and dialogue from films as varied as "Kung Fu Panda" and "Spider-Man" at one end of the spectrum and "Silence of the Lambs" at the other.

For no apparent reason, the script—co-written by Disa with Cory Edwards, Tony Leech and Todd Edwards—also displays an animus toward the Food Network and its celebrity chefs, with Verushka proclaiming, "Rachael Ray is the devil!"

Theologians take note. Or not.

The film contains mildly rude bathroom humor and some very loud action sequences. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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Francis of Assisi: Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance. 
<p>Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy." </p><p>From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman. </p><p>He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking. </p><p>But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3). </p><p>Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity. </p><p>He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade. </p><p>During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side. </p><p>On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Gospel is not just any joy. It consists in knowing one is welcomed and loved by God…. And so we are able to open our eyes again, to overcome sadness and mourning to strike up a new song. And this true joy remains even amid trial, even amid suffering, for it is not a superficial joy: it permeates the depths of the person who entrusts himself to the Lord and confides in him.

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