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I recently complained on this blog about the need to demand better family entertainment at the box office, but I saw a quirky, fun new family movie on a friend’s recommendation: “Hoodwinked,” which ended up being the surprise hit and top grossing flick at the box office this past weekend. “Hoodwinked” is a computer-animated fractured fairytale that retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood with a fresh twist, a la “Shrek,” by turning it into a comical detective story.

The movie begins where the original story leaves off. Chief Grizzly and Detective Bill Stork investigate a domestic disturbance at Granny’s cottage, involving a girl, a wolf, and an axe. The charges are many: breaking and entering, disturbing the peace, intent to eat, and wielding an axe without a license. Taking a page from famous Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s classic film “Rashomon,” the movie’s events are also told from the viewpoint of various characters (Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, and Jim Belushi all lend their voices to the project) in an effort to find out what really happened at Granny’s cottage that fateful day. While the movie is not quite as sassy as Shrek, and the animation is not quite up to the level of the Pixar films it is being compared to (unfairly, as this movie was made for much less), “Hoodwinked” is still smart, witty, and has enough in it to keep younger children as well as adults entertained.

An interesting side note is that the one of the directors of the project, Cory Edwards, is a Christian, and his story caught the eye of the L.A. Times, which profiled him and his partners recently. I find it extremely encouraging to know that in the ever-increasing dialogue between Hollywood and the religious community, Hollywood execs can find evidence of a filmmaker’s faith not only in overtly evangelistic movies about martyred missionaries or the end of the world, but also in movies about a little girl in a red cape with a wicked sense of humor.

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