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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

By
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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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