Once again, so much talent behind so unworthy of a project.
You can’t fit onto one page the amount of A-List (and some B-List) voice talent that were rallied to put this together: Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, David Ogden-Stiers, Glenn Close!, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Andy Dick, Martin Short, Cheech and Chong.
The directing/writing trio of Edwards, Edwards, and Leech, wrote this second film and designated the directing to Mike Disa, who has directed nothing notable in the past. This is not in itself a flaw — many first time directors have exploded from the gate — and many more have not. However, even large studio animated films usually have multiple directors at the helm. This is because the act of putting together a feature length animated film is an enormous undertaking. So for Disa to take this on is admirable, but fruitless as he has taken on the burden with a flawed and childish screenplay — from the three guys who together directed the first one.
The film falls into the rut of most ridiculous animated films of substituting intelligent dialogue with “clever” bits, infusing the whole film with pop culture references that will date the film within a few years, and having heroic characters land from great heights into a three point kneeling stance. They did manage to avoid a dance number, which I can appreciate. All in all, the writing aims toward a very young and very limited demographic — little children, and men with <90 IQ and the emotional intelligence of the previously mentioned little children. I can’t say for sure that this is why the second film with not reach even a fraction of the box office draw as the first — because I haven’t seen the first. But, its a good guess, simply based on the metrics of successful “children’s” films.
To compound the failure, the animation and design is sub-par and is more in-tune with a 90’s Saturday morning venture created by Mainframe, than it is with a feature film. It doesn’t even have to be Pixar, Dreamworks, or now Illuminate. Just look at the movie 9 — same budget, gaping story holes, but looks absolutely beautiful. Come on guys, keep up with the technology. Your first film was released in 2005. Nowadays, your designs could have been rendered in real-time on my kid’s XBox. Unfortunately, your animation didn’t evolve either.
The story revolves around Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf who seem to have “a past” – presumably based on the fairy tale past, as well as something from the previous film. They belong to a spy agency called H.O.O.D., but Red has taken a sabbatical to follow in Granny’s footsteps as a ninja warrior who trained in a Tibetan monastery. While Red is away training, Granny, Wolf, et al go into a mission, which ends up being a trap to capture Granny in order to force her to bake a special truffle that will infuse those that eat them with ultimate power. Red must return, and go on a journey with Wolf and Twitchy the Squirrel (which I’m surprised hasn’t led to a lawsuit from BlueSky (Scrat) or Dreamworks (Hammy)) to rescue Granny, for Wolf to redeem himself, and Red to get over her issue with being called a chicken — original… not so much.
Normally, I could laugh at Patrick Warburton reading a Denny’s menu out loud. But, no laughter here, which would bring one to the conclusion that: this script is less amusing than a laminated menu with pictures of food.