The Director of Hoodwinked Speaks

Cory Edwards

Cory Edwards, the guy who made the moderately successful steaming pile of CGI known as Hoodwinked is still plying his wares around town and is currently tapped to write and direct Fraggle Rock: The Movie for the Jim Henson Company. He talks about his work in this interview on the Fulle Circle Productions blog.

Whatever one’s opinion of Hoodwinked, you’ve got to admit that Edwards was on the forefront of indie CG, a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent nowadays. In his own words:

“And I realize that there were other independently-funded projects being done at the same time, but yes, we were the first… the first kind of a new model and a new way of making an animated film. It was made with no studio money, overseas, then picked up by a major distributor. A few other animated films have followed this path, but not to the level of success that Hoodwinked was able to achieve. I know Veggie Tales had a movie come out earlier that year, but that was with a struck deal and brand recognition. Hoodwinked was this freak of nature that was made completely outside of the studio system and, thankfully, worked. I rarely toot my own horn, but these are facts that never get mentioned and I am really proud of what our little film did. Hoodwinked was made for under $8 Million, and has grossed over $150 Million worldwide. That easily makes it the most profitable animated film of its time.”

Beyond the business aspects of indie CG, the rest of the interview is packed with gems that both infuriate and tickle the funny bone. For example, Edwards reveals one of his reasons why he’s not directing Hoodwinked 2: “I wanted desperately to get into live action films, and was very concerned about being pigeon-holed as an animation director.” There’s also a wonderful bit about how he’s going to approach the feature-length Fraggle Rock: “I’m shooting high with this one, trying to say some big things about humanity in the way that WALL-E did, but at the same time, make a really cool adventure film.” Apparently the new formula for success in Hollywood is to just give it a little bit of that Wall-E humanity oomph.

Most amusing though is where Edwards sees himself in ten years:

“I sincerely hope that I will be able to carve out a niche in this business where I am a ‘brand name’ director. By that I mean, when an audience sees my name, they anticipate something good… and when a studio thinks of me, they are eager to make a “Cory Edwards film…I want to keep surprising people, but still keep my name synonymous with quality.”

Considering that every project his name has been attached to (Hoodwinked, Doogal) has been an artistic abomination, keeping his name synonymous with quality is a ship that sailed a long time ago. No worries though…nobody notices in Hollywood anyway. Keep up with Cory’s attempt to turn Fraggle Rock into the next WALL-E at CorysCuriosities.blogspot.com.


  • Cameron

    Honestly, there have been worse Hollywood trends than “WALL-E-style humanity.”

    Though it’s no less mean-spirited.

  • http://checkeredgeekcartoons.blogspot.com Zach Cole

    Making a Fraggle Rock movie is just as bad as making a movie based on The Spirit, and the results will probably be similar.

    Will Eisner is dead. Jim Henson is dead. People need to respect the work of dead geniuses, or at least stop butchering their creations.

  • Chris

    Wait – he’s writing and directing Fraggle Rock? Why do so many people in Hollywood fail upwards?

  • Thomas

    Here’s a link for more of the same:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuqyZC2haBI

  • http://rafatoro.blogspot.com Rafa

    :_(
    I´m terribly disappointed with this news…
    I loved Fraggle Rock when I was a kid, and I still find it enjoyable.
    Wasn’t Brian Henson available to direct?

    This is like finding out that both Michael Jackson and John Wayne Gacy Jr. are in charge of your kid´s summer camp…

  • Jamie B

    I’ve been reading Cory’s blog about the development of the movie for a while now, and from everything he’s written so far, I honestly do think he’s aiming for the right place with the Fraggle movie…

    The original Fraggle Rock series is possibly the most narratively ambitious childrens series of all time, achieving profound messages about the way we treat each other as humans virtually every week. I’ve just spent a few days with the fourth and final season and I was blown away by the depth and metaphor each episode acheived whilst being slickly paced, genuniely funny and visually stunning… (the lighting and seemless blend of each visual and technical element was, by this point, flawless). It achieved an even bigger message than Wall-E did due to the slowly unfolding change in tolerance and understanding between each species of characters – a well handled, long running tv show can pull this off at a more realistic and believable pace than a feature if the story arcs are thoughtfully considered. I think Cory can be forgiven for using a recent example to sum up what a Fraggle movie *needs* to be about in order for it to be a ‘Fraggle’ movie.

    The term ‘artistic abomination’ is something i’d definitely attribute to Hoodwinked – I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it because it wound me up so much. According to everything i’ve heard though, it was the script that everyone liked the film for, and I can completely appreciate that being a good writer and having the sensibilities of a good animation designer aren’t skills that go hand in hand. Fraggle already has a strong visual look, and if Henson pick the right people to be responsible for the cinematography, and maintain the rich visual world already developed without ‘improvemnet-tweaking’ and of the raw designs, then this responsibility will not fall to Cory, and he can get on with being a storyteller.

    The damage to The Magic Roundabout/Doogal was done in Britain and France before anyone else got their hands on it, I assure you. No-one could have saved that disasterpiece as it was so ugly in its ‘reimagination’, and so structurally flawed (ultimate showdown with the mega-villain 20 minutes in, anyone?!) that he can be blamed for very little in that case. We really only have Hoodwinked to go on, regarding his ‘track record’ . I’d probably be one of the most ardant worriers of a movie version of Fraggle Rock ruining what has gone before if it wasn’t for post after eloquent post of Cory itntelligenttly displaying that he understands the writing process and, specifically, what makes the Fraggle universe work…

    I don’t know Mr Edwards, by the way, and have never had any contact with him. I just wanted to add a bit more background from someone who as been observing his path for a little longer and can appreciate where his quotes may be being jumped on a little too quickly and harshly. From what I’ve read, he really does seem to be one of the good guys.

  • Gobo

    While the animation on Hoodwinked was indeed a pile, I think it’s worth mentioning that the director fully knew it was a steaming pile.

    I remember when it came out, Cory posted to AnimationNation and other boards concerning the movie; his story was that the Weinsteins liked his script and challenged him to make the movie for $8 million. He found some animators in Serbia or Croatia or some such place and got the film made for bargain-basement prices with the full knowledge of how crappy it looked… trusting that his writing would shine through the poo. And, honestly, it does, at times. It’s a genuinely funny film in fits and spurts (see how I keep the poop metaphor going?).

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    You’ll also find a nice interview with Corey in the regular Henson Company Podcasts on iTunes.

    Re Hoodwinked.
    I watched it with a bunch of animation guys and we all agreed it was actually pretty good, for what it was.

    HOWEVER, it wasn’t as good as Delgo, the most misunderstood and maligned unseen film of the last 12 months.

  • cb

    I was quite surprised at the quality of hoodwinked. Did it look great? Not really. It was cheap and it showed, but it was indie after all. However, the concept, story, and execution of such were great. I have to say it was written well and was actually moderately funny. Moderately being the key word. But still pretty darn good. Definitely smart and clever. Not the best animated movie ever, not even “great” by any means, but definitely deserves more praise than stuffy animation geeks like myself give it.

  • http://www.strugglingyoungman.com Shaw

    I thought Ahmet Zappa was writing the Fraggle Rock movie????

  • DanKing

    director by numbers. *sigh*

  • http://who-really-cares-anyway.blogspot.com/2009/01/craigs-cartoon-corner.html Craig D.
  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    You don’t watch Hoodwinked for Pixar-quality animation, because it ain’t.
    It’s enjoyed repeat viewings in my house because of the script, story and the voice-acting. These three go a long way to help you overlook the shoddy animation.
    We enjoyed it far more than ‘Happy Feet’, for sure.

    Judging by the credits, I think it was all animated in Mexico.

  • Jason

    The fatal damage to the already-flawed Doogal was not done in Britian and France. It was done here in the States when Butch Hartman rewrote the script in his signature loud, vulgar, dimwitted style (the same style that eventually destroyed his own creation, The Fairly Oddparents).

    As for Fraggle Rock…Corey’s probably the right man for the job. Because really, few people are going to care anyway. Nostalgia only carries a property so far, and we are talking about an OLD PUPPET SHOW here. It beats me why Hollywood wants to bring back a franchise based on puppets at all (word is Disney’s thinking about a Muppet movie. Hoo boy). The Muppets were great in their time, but a lot of the appeal was based on technical cleverness that is extremely dated now, and characters which have been eclipsed by better ones. C’est la vie. Time marches on.

    As for Hoodwinked….gahhh!!!! The trailers made my eyes bleed. A lot of its success has to be based on its cheapness and the fact that CGI was still something of a novelty at the time of that eyesore’s release. I applaud Corey’s future ambitions; I’m all for him getting into live action, if it means he never gets near an animated film again.

  • Corey

    I don’t understand the bashing of films like Hoodwinked paralleled with the encouragement of independent film-making around here. Anyone want to explain?

  • http://nateissmrt.blogspot.com nate

    Sure, Hoodwinked is the ugliest animated film ever made, but lay off the guy! Its kinda entertaining and completely watchable!

    Theres plenty of terrible animated films out there, no need to pick on just one :)

  • Marvin

    There ARE plenty of terrible animated films out there. And if this guy’s strengths lie in writing and voice casting, I’ve got one word for him: RADIO!

  • Kevin H.

    “Most amusing though is where Edwards sees himself in ten years”

    Belittling people’s dreams and ambitions? Harsh much?

  • http://www.mukpuddy.blogspot.com Mukpuddy

    What the hell is wrong with the Henson company these days, this guy is the best they found to direct a Fraggle Rock movie!!!! WTF!! I’m sure they’d be a bunch of accomplished directors out there that grew up watching Fraggle Rock and would jump at the chance of directing a movie!!
    I really can’t believe what’s happened to a company that I admired soooo much growing up!! All my dreams were shattered when I sat through the god awful Henson panel at the 2007 comic-con!!!

  • Jack

    The Henson Company’s track record since the death of its founder speaks loudly for itself.

  • http://www.leftbrainwritebrain.com/ Jamie P.

    While I agree with some posters that this post seems a bit mean hearted at times, I disagree with one point that is being argued. I don’t believe that people should judge the merit of a movie with the thought that it cost less than 8-million to make. A good film is a good film and a poor film is a poor film. The work should be able to stand on its own and not take it’s achievement for the size of budget.

    @Gobo: I am a bit confused, so did the Weinsteins give Mr. Edwards the money to create Hoodwinked or did he find his own private investors?

  • amid

    Corey: There’s no problem with crude or cheaply done animation. But when somebody uses a visual medium like animation, they owe it to the audience to employ the qualities of the art they’re working in. Somebody with so little respect and knowledge of visual storytelling is going to turn out s**t, whether he works in animation or switches to live-action.

    Jamie B: Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I admire your capacity for faith in this guy.

  • John A

    He did the best with what he had. It’s not like Jay Ward’s Fractured Fairy Tales are great animated films. I remember wanting to hate it, but the storyline kept me amused. If Red hadn’t been so gosh darn hideous it might have been a half way decent film.

  • Hulk

    I’m curious about this guy’s background. Was he an animator before he was a director? Did he work in animation at all? There seem to be more and more Animation Directors who come to the position not knowing anything about how the animation process works. The director of “Space Chimps” is a good example: he was a writer first and had never worked in animation. In many interviews I’ve heard, a lot of these guys aren’t even that interested in animation but see it as a stepping stone to direct live action and be part of the hollywood scene. I wonder if he’s in the same boat. Amid do you know?

  • Elyssa

    Jason: Through my small foray into the world of puppetry, I have discovered that many parallels can be drawn between it and animation. First, anyone with an interest in animation understands that film looks down its nose at us. The same is true with puppetry in regards to theater—both industries are marginalized, particularly in the US. Anyone who relegates the entire art of puppetry to being “extremely dated” because it lacks current technological cleverness is also insulting animation, not to mention the incredibly skilled artisans who labor to bring characters of both mediums to life. Not only can both puppetry and animation be as primitive and basic as they want to be, they can also utilize some of the most complex and technologically advanced computer programs/robotics that exist today. In the end, no amount of technology or lack thereof, can substitute for solid characterization and acting skills, which in my opinion, can be quite timeless.

  • Bobby D.

    Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not an animator or an artist…and people like me, (most of the human race), don’t really care what medium is in front of them..as long as it’s entertaining. I really liked Hoodwinked. Funny is funny, and I can close my eyes and get laughs outta this film. As far as ripping into Cory Edwards personally, I guess “it’s good to be the king”.

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

    “Hoodwinked” was much nicer than I expected it to be. I expected a typical low-budget CGI film with lame dialogue, and instead I got an engaging, well-told and funny story. I did not mind the animation. I think that its success was well-deserved.

  • John

    I don’t understand the bashing of films like Hoodwinked paralleled with the encouragement of independent film-making around here. Anyone want to explain?

    I’d be happy to, Corey. We don’t love independent films just because they’re independent any more than we’d love studio films just because they’re big-budget. We simply love good films.

    If somebody makes an independent film that sucks, it does not earn any special marks for how it was financed, or how much money it made.

    I wouldn’t want to encourage anybody to make independent films if they have no talent and no original point of view, any more than I’d want to enourage a studio hack. I’d prefer to discourage them from doing it again.

    Audiences don’t care about big budgets or little budgets. The only thing that matters is what’s up on the screen. And if it sucks, it sucks.

  • Bobby D.

    “Audiences don’t care about big budgets or little budgets. The only thing that matters is what’s up on the screen. And if it sucks, it sucks.”

    Well said, John. The box office success of Hoodwinked speaks for itself.

  • Brannigan’s Law

    Who cares. Never saw it… never will. If I you want good writing over animation read a book. The Fourth Bear by Fforde should satiate you adult take on fairy tale appetites. What I care about is what happened to the canceled Power of the Dark Crystal that Genndy was directing. I thought I read recently that he’s still working for the Brain Henson Company (yeah I went there). Is it on that same project or something different.

  • John

    Well said, John. The box office success of Hoodwinked speaks for itself.

    The box office success of Hoodwinked speaks to the marketing genius of Mr Weinstein and little else.

  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    I first heard about the idea of a Fraggle Rock movie a few years ago, and did hear that Ahmet Zappa would be directing the music. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I can just imagine, the Fraggles sing ‘Let’s make the water turn black’ while the Gorgs do a polka rendition of ‘Take your clothes off when you dance’ and the Trash Heap does ‘Cosmic Debris.’ :)

    But seriously folks, I think the time is ripe for a Fraggle movie, no matter who directs, so long as the Henson family continues to guide the project. They seem to be bringing the magic back with many of the most recent Muppet projects (their last Christmas special was excellent, and the stuff they’re doing on the Disney channel is very funny). I got my 2-year-old daughter hooked on the original Fraggle Rock series, so taking her to see them in a movie would make me very happy.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I want to work on the Fraggle Rock movie. I have been a fraggle fan since it’s very beginning. Hey Cory! Hire me!

    Seriously. I want a DECENT Fraggle Rock movie and I would KILL to have an opportunity to work on it. Someone get me on this thing. Anyone. I don’t care what anyone on this board says about the guy.

  • Mark

    Amid,

    You are wrong about Cory. He is a guy who really cares about quality. The Hoodwinked animation quality was out of his hands, but the story and acting is very good. Remember, Disney and Pixar features budgets START at 1 million a minute. Hoodwinked was made for around 9.

    Doogal was already a disaster when he got his hands on the script. He and the other writers had to rewrite it using EXISTING animation from Europe. Btw, he only did it as a favor to Harvey W. Blaming him for Doogal is like blaming Obama for Iraq.

    I have been following his blog for quite a while now, and I believe that he’s taking the right approach to Fraggle and has full support from the Hensons.

    What people need to do is give him a chance to make a movie that he creates from the ground up, AND with a decent budget. I’m pretty sure you’ll take back some of your criticism when you see the results of his treatment of Fraggle Rock.

  • amid

    Mark: A director who cares about the animation process would not set-up a production where the animation was entirely out of his hands. Even when an animated film is produced at an overseas production studio, there are plenty of ways that a director can ensure a decent product. It’s also worth pointing out that Triplettes of Belleville was produced for a similar budget. Quality need not be thrown out the window because the budget is $5-10 million dollars.

  • maxeythecat

    I agree with Amid on this one…..there’s no excuse on this planet strong enough to explain why “Hoodwinked” was such an absolute visual abomination…ANY director who has pride in his work would try his damnedest to supervise the quality of his movie no matter where it was outsourced to. This guy should never be allowed near a film again as far as I’m concerned.

  • greaney

    i liked hoodwinked…

  • Fred Sparrman

    Amid, you write from an ivory tower of your own imagining. Where’s YOUR feature film that you wrote and directed that made $150 million? Sometimes it’s just about “getting it done”, by whatever means necessary. Maybe Edwards WILL make a good Fraggle Rock movie, but he never would have had the chance without making Hoodwinked first. It may be hard for you to believe, but whether or not someone is going to offend your personal artistic sensibilities is NOT generally a foremost concern.

    You make me wish Jerry Beck had his own animation blog.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kustomkool Kevin Dougherty

    I did not see either “Hoodwinked” or “Delgo” (although the “Delgo” trailer looked sort of interesting) and while I can guess my opinion would not differ from the consensus here, I think ‘Brew is being a bit tough on the guy. Most crappy animation – independent or otherwise – gets what it deserves. Ignored. No one is posting lengthy posts detailing why “Veggie Tales” was so bad, so utterly, utterly bad. Did Corey screw over a bunch of animators? Did he steal money? He made some crummy flicks but probably gave some breaks to fledgling talent along the way and let them put food on the table. And maybe gave someone the experience to do something better down the road.

  • http://www.fullecirclestuff.blogspot.com Jason Anders

    Wow! Thank you so much for mentioning my website and interview, Amid! It means a lot!

  • Fred Sparrman

    And for the record, I found Hoodwinked to be neither attractive nor funny. But that’s just me.

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    Where’s YOUR feature film that you wrote and directed that made $150 million?

    So, Fred, basically you’re saying that the only people who are allowed to give their full honest opinion about a feature film are those who actually made one? I’m so sick & tired of people bringing up this argument. It’s silly and doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  • http://coryscuriosities.blogspot.com/ Cory Edwards

    Ouch.

    Have you ever had someone jump out of an alley and hit you with a lead pipe? That’s what this feels like.

    However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and all the posts after. VERY entertaining. Almost humorous. Because the assumptions you jump to are so wild and so unfounded, it’s almost pointless to respond. Arguing about your opinions and my facts is pointless. What’s great is that, with all the hatred thrown at my film, I see that other people — complete strangers — continue to step in to get my back, or at least say they enjoyed the film. That’s really cool.

    Amid: you have a lot of your facts wrong. A lot. And you assume many, many things about how we made this animated movie. And about me. Since I was the one who was there (every single day for three years), I know the real story. Hey, this is just like “Hoodwinked!” Everyone has a different take on the truth. Sorry, I didn’t mean to mention a movie you hate so much.

    But if you want to know how things REALLY happened, you can always contact me, the way that Fulle Circle Productions did. I am always happy to talk about the hurdles I experienced. And I respect someone so much more when they dialogue with me in person, instead of taking shots at me behind my back. Poor form, sir.

    I’ll try not to screw anything else up. But if I do, you can always…. uh… not watch it.

    Respectfully,

    Cory Edwards

  • Fred Sparrman

    No Ward, that’s not what I meant at all. But it seems Amid has absolutely no appreciation for what Cory Edwards accomplished. The artistic merits of the film aside, it’s an absolutely incredible achievement. If Amid were to even try to do the same thing, he’d probably have a little respect for the accomplishment. Amid’s view of “animation” is extremely limited, tragically short-sighted, and disgustingly cynical.

  • Thomas

    Fred, I don’t think Amid wants anything but a quality effort in animation, and all of us here are reacting to the cynical, leaden way these terrible films were created. Please feel free to continue your personal attacks though, and you needn’t try to tether them to any basis in fact. You’re doing fine.

  • Rasmussen

    Hey, this is just like “Rashomon”…

  • Bill Parker

    In the words of Ego, “the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” Might want to ponder that one a bit, Amid, O Lofty Gatekeeper and Arbiter of True Art.

    You don’t need to have made a film of your own to have the right to critique one, but a little bit of respect for those who DO–as opposed to those who only TALK–would go a long way for you in gaining some much needed credibility.

  • http://www.sfeericle-records.com blunderspublik

    “…steaming pile of CGI”
    Classic!
    Hoodwinked came out when I lived in Montreal, Quebec, where I think it did really well. I can’t even look at stills from that hideous mess without getting enraged.

  • Fred Sparrman

    Thanks Thomas, for the go ahead on the personal attacks, but it is of course actually Amid who allows them to proceed by approving them to be posted here. I do have to credit him for that.

    But seriously man, whose attitude do you find more cynical, Cory Edwards’ or Amid’s?

  • Fred Sparrman

    Blunderspublik, I’m curious: Enraged at who?

  • John

    Fred, there’s nothing cynical about a film critic expressing his opinion and calling a spade a spade. Do you leap down Ebert’s throat every time he gives a thumbs-down review? Amid is doing his job as an honest reviewer. I for one can’t stand the “yay animation” crowd who applaud any pile of empty commercial garbage just because it’s animated. Reserve your support for artists, not every hack and poseur who stumbles through the medium.

    The strongest defense I’ve read here about “Hoodwinked” is, literally, “It’s not so bad if you close your eyes.” Wow. Is there really anything left to discuss?

  • Thomas

    Well, what are you gonna do? There are untalented people who make art, and many consumers champion bad art. Many more- some here- seem unable to tell the difference between good art and bad art. C’est la vie!

    The thing that sticks in the craw is when (supposedly) creative people champion weak art. When that happens we get things like 30 years of Scooby Doo, Family Guy, Madagascar 2 and Hoodwinked. What can I say?

    I’m glad that the people making these films and shows are working, but in my opinion, many of them are simply in the wrong business.

  • Fred Sparrman

    My last comment in this thread (please hold your applause):

    I have no problem with Amid calling Hoodwinked a “steaming pile of CGI”. I pretty much agree with that. But I have a big problem with the cynical and sarcastic tone he uses when referring to Edwards himself. Edwards at least is aiming high, however unlikely it may seem that he will hit his goals. Amid’s belittling commentary aims very low, seeking to publicly ridicule another human being who at least has good intentions. Why draw attention to Edwards at all if he bothers you that much??!!?? It’s the attitude of a juvenile bully.

    This is a very valuable forum, and it pains me to see it being used destructively rather than constructively.

  • Bobby D.

    John,

    To use my quote, “Funny is funny, and I can close my eyes and get laughs outta this film”

    MUCH different than the quote you selected…“It’s not so bad if you close your eyes.”

    The difference is, it’s not totally dependent on the visuals…but, I laugh HARDER when I watch the film…Can’t say that about of a lot of animated films. Again, good work Cory…and welcome to the “stick-in-the-mud” club.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I also liked Hoodwinked’s script. I thought it was a funnier than Shrek. And it didn’t look a lot worse, actually.

  • Mark

    maxeythecat wrote:

    “This guy should never be allowed near a film again as far as I’m concerned.”

    blunderspublik wrote:

    “I can’t even look at stills from that hideous mess without getting enraged.”

    Thomas wrote:

    “I’m glad that the people making these films and shows are working, but in my opinion, many of them are simply in the wrong business.”

    Personal and below the belt much?

    It’s easy to say these things over the internet. No faces, no id’s, no loss of work from the fallout. Courageous of you.

    Who am I? No one really, but I was the sound designer on Hoodwinked, (as well as many other things, it was a very small crew). I love the film for many reasons. I’ve worked with Cory many times, so I’ve seen his quality. He shoots for the best all the time (sometimes, as we all know, one guy can do that, but MANY things have to be incredible for a feature to come out top-shelf all the way around). I also don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to work with him again, so this comment isn’t out of loyalty or brown-nosing.

    I feel no need to defend the animation. No one is trying to do that, even those of us on the crew. It was the best the little studio in the Philippines could muster with the money and time they had. But to equate your displeasure of it with a belief that Cory should never make another film? Ridiculous. You are throwing the baby out with the bath water again.

    My point is that as professionals we should have the license to critique (even if you haven’t made your own film), but to demean and try to cripple a man’s reputation for quality; that’s something else. My guess is that most of the haters here are not in the industry and have no investment in such work themselves, so why not blow hot air and make it more personal than necessary. Get on that bandwagon and spew it out. If this is you and you ARE in the industry, then I predict a short stay for you.

    I’m also guessing that if you’re here on this blog, then you have an above-average interest in animated art. Why throw someone, a guy who is getting his turn to make some of it, under the animation critic’s bus? Whether or not I knew the man, whether not not I liked his work, whether or not I thought I’d ever work with him, I’d still be professional in my criticism.

    Say what you think. Please. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is how we improve our craft.

    Whether you like it or not, Cory Edwards will continue writing and directing films, and my belief is that eventually, you will see the true talent he has.

    And, if you are an aspiring filmmaker, I also suggest you capitalize on Cory’s internet presence, and go along the ride with him through his blog, etc. As he learns and experiences more of this process day to day, so will you, and that will be to your advantage.

  • messy

    Hoodwinked was a very good film. The Animation wasn’t perfect, but the writing was brilliant. Rocky and Bullwinkle and the rest of the Jay Ward ourve had much worse animation

    Fraggle Rock might just work out.

  • KarmaRocketX

    I didn’t get any further than “The Director Of Hoodwinked Speaks” to instantly realize that it wasn’t worth reading, at all.

    It’s one of those article titles that definitely tells it’s own story. Although it would have been a lot more interesting if the article’s title was “The Director Of Hoodwinked Shuts Up And Says Nothing”

  • Chris

    I have to agree with Fred on this. While John is right that a critic’s job is to give an honest assessment of a film and it’s artistic integrity, this post is clearly a personal attack. How often do you see Ebert mocking director’s personal aspirations? He mocks films, but very rarely the filmmaker. This post goes beyond film criticism.

    It is possible that Amid is interested in bringing change to the animation industry by singling out people in high positions who could be doing more. This is not a terrible thing, but surely there must be much guiltier parties than this to be brought down.

    I may not always agree with him, but I appreciate most of Amid’s posts because they have strong statements – statements about animation. Please criticize the art, not the artists.

  • Simon

    Fred:Where’s YOUR feature film that you wrote and directed that made $150 million?

    Ward: So, Fred, basically you’re saying that the only people who are allowed to give their full honest opinion about a feature film are those who actually made one? I’m so sick & tired of people bringing up this argument. It’s silly and doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    Dennis S. says: Mr. Jerry Beck, being the animation expert that you are I expect better work from you…snip….Maybe you should start over?

    Jerry Beck: ….snip…I’d like to see your first film, Dennis.

    HEY-Oh!

  • yvette kaplan

    I have been stewing over this stream of comments for a couple of days now. I actually wrote a long post two nights ago but as it was late and there was so much I wanted to say, it got a little convoluted and rambling. For one reason or another, I ended up not sending it. But it is still weighing on me, so coherent or not, I have to respond. There are lots more posts to process now, so likely I will repeat much already stated– but I want to at least go on the record about a few things.

    Point one: mean-spiritedness. There’s way too much of it here. And none of it, by the way, coming from Corey Edwards himself, who has countered with grace and clarity. I’m happy to see others have pointed it out, but Amid, you went a bit far this time.

    Point two: “never saw it, never will.” there were quite a few quotes like this, and I get the feeling that many of the most hateful put downs of the film might well have been made by those who “never saw it, never will.” I don’t understand this at all. That’s just band wagon jumping at it’s worse, and plain silly. And you know what? You ripped yourselves off from a big surprise: You would have laughed your heads off.

    Point three: “Audiences don’t care about big budgets or little budgets. The only thing that matters is what’s up on the screen. And if it sucks, it sucks.” To John, who wrote that (could “never saw it, never will” apply here as well?) Hoodwinked definitely did not suck. Not by a long shot. What was on the screen was an extremely funny, well-told, well-directed, clever and surprisingly GOOD-HEARTED movie, with extremely well-drawn (meaning: well WRITTEN) characters. And all those people laughing in the audience would tell you, laughter doesn’t suck.

    And Point Four, to all those animation purists out there: Clearly I am not a purist. But I am, in fact, an artist and animation director. And I was an animator for many years. I too can be moved to tears by a piece of beautifully drawn, fluid animation. Happily, beautiful animation exists for us to enjoy. But beautiful goes just so far. if there is nothing underneath– meaning: no character development, no heart, no soul, and yes, no HUMOR– it will not move me, no matter how well it moves. It still, and always, comes down to story, story, story. And THIS one worked guys. No, it wasn’t earth-shattering. And no, I may not have a place for it in my heart forever, but it’s that laughter thing again: Hoodwinked made me laugh. Alot. And laughter is a good thing. Lighten up.

    I for one, look forward to seeing Corey’s “Fraggle Rock” come to life. It could well be a brilliant pairing. But only those of us who’ll see it will know for sure. I hope to see a bunch of you lucky ones there.

    Thanks for listening.

  • akira

    Oh man thisis horrible news! I’m a HUGE fraggle rock fan.. Jim henson should be halfway to China from the number of times he’s rolled over in his grave! Mr. Edwards, i sure hope you’re better at “live action” than you are at animation!

  • amid

    Quick comment: Anything somebody discusses publicly in an interview is fair game for dissection and discussion. I wouldn’t have brought up Edwards’s personal goals if he hadn’t made such a big deal about it.

    His statements are filled with a delusional swagger that begs for commentary. A guy whose credits are Hoodwinked and Doogal is talking about how he wants to be a ‘brand name’ like Spielberg or Lucas. Sorry. That’s ridiculous and needs to be said. A director like Brad Bird, whose films are handcrafted works of art and who could legitimately make a proclamation like that, has the modesty and good sense not to. Edwards should take a clue and let the quality of his work speak for itself instead of grandstanding all over the Internet.

  • conscious

    Hoodwinked was successful for the very same reasons Treasure Planet, Ant Bully and/or Atlantis failed: it entertained the mass.
    Every working professional in this field knows that there is more to movie making than just pretty pictures and claiming one undeserving of it’s box-office success is like trowing dirt in the faces of everyone else who was involved in putting that movie onto the big screen.
    You guys are so way out of line here.
    Sorry.

  • messy

    Hey, Amid, what exactly was wrong with the Hoodwinked script? were the jokes not funny? were the characters not well rounded? Did the plot not work?

    I thought they did.

  • JPilot

    I believe Brad Bird has earned his modesty. Others now praise his body of work to the heavens, it is a great honor and well deserved.
    People who have yet to reach that level of excellence must boast and swagger and toot their own horn if they want to stay alive and get a chance at reaching their full potential, the other option is to just give up.
    It was Golda Meir who once said to another politician: “Don’t be so modest, you’re not that good!’

  • http://www.breadwig.com Breadwig

    I met Corey at Comic-con last year. He was an unpretentious and pretty funny guy. I’d love to have Cartoon Brew/Amid do an interview with him and actually discuss all these issues back and forth in an interview format. I think that would be really interesting. Plus I think it would stimulate the economy.

  • Charlie

    I’d like to chime in about the script to Hoodwinked, if I may.

    I did not find anything funny about it, and it was rife with cliches. I cringe at the snowboarding Granny, for instance. The story was deadly simple, and painfully derivative. I don’t think Amid needs to speak to these points, since most adults would agree it was not that good, or good at all.

    Don’t use the excuse that it was for kids, so adults can’t judge it. I’ve shown Hoodwinked to my girls and my nephew and nieces, and they had almost no reaction to it. My kids have never asked to see it again, and have never even mentioned it since the day they watched it. Quality kid stuff, they all love. They ask to see Monsters, Inc., Jungle Book, Charlie and Lola, Chowder and a host of other kids shows and movies, but this one skipped right by them.

    I walked in on the girls and some of their friends watching Doogal on cable one rainy Saturday, and the were making fun of it! Six and Eight and they were doing the MST3K routine over the movie! This lasted for a few minutes before they left the room and didn’t return. I’m all for dreaming big, but I’d say that if these two films were your resume, I’d dream quietly to friends and relatives until I had more to show for my efforts.

    No, I don’t have a single movie I’ve directed, but I’d argue that my directing track record beats his hands down. Good luck and get back to work, is all I can say to Corey, and I sincerely mean my good wishes for his future projects.

  • http://coryscuriosities.blogspot.com/ Cory Edwards

    Thanks for the shout out, Breadwig.

    Mark, I know you always have my back.

    Props to Yvette!… and others who said such nice things.

    KarmaRocketX: You’re never gonna shut me up. I make movies, baby!

    This tennis match is some prime-time entertainment, I have to say.

    Breadwig makes an interesting suggestion: A Cartoon Brew interview. At this point, it’s sounding like a worse and worse idea. I’m not sure what I could say that would escape the wrathful judgement of this crew. I wish you knew me. I’m a nice guy. And I actually care about doing good work.

    I’m gonna say some things here, in one last ditch effort, to straighten out some twisted facts.

    1. I was one of ten ghost writers on “Doogal.” That does not mean I made the film. “Doogal” is not on my resume as a writer / director. Please stop attaching me to it.

    2. Don’t lecture about a movie’s budget until you know what it was. Our starting budget for “Hoodwinked” was 500,000 dollars. When real talent got interested, it grew to 2 million. When we decided to make it theatrical, it grew to four million. When we brought on a second animation studio, Skywalker Sound and Weinstein Company, it finally settled at 8 million. So there was no “budget” that we “squandered.” There was no bag of money handed to us with a “green light.” WE green lit the film ourselves by starting it with nothing. Our production began in an apartment. The thing grew to what it is today by gathering funding as it was made. You can’t tell me what we should have done with our 8 million dollar budget because we never had it.

    3. I’ve only directed one film. One. Film.
    To say my entire career has “set sail” is amazingly short sighted, by any definition.

    4. Everyone is allowed to have big goals. Everyone.
    My goal to one day be a top director. If that seems stupid or too lofty for you, I really don’t care. I may just become an astronaut after that, just to piss you off.

    5. My name is spelled “Cory.” No “E.”

    We are all artists here, working hard to realize our dreams. We should all be encouraging each other. A lot of good stuff has been said on that point, so I’ll shut up now. One thing you can be certain of: I will be making more movies. Eventually, I hope I make one you haters will actually like.

    Peace, love and Bugs Bunny Cartoons,

    Cory Edwards

  • Chris

    One interview on the Full Circle Productions Blog is “grandstanding all over the Internet”?

  • http://www.geocities.com/FungusRiddenProductions/index.html AJ Pinkerton

    I went to see this movie as an 18 year old. I went with a friend. He was wearing a Saw t-shirt. It had severed fingers on it.

    And the two of us actually couldn’t hear ourselves laughing (even though we were, hysterically) from one foot away over the full theater of children. They laughed at *everything.*

    Also, the way I see it, $150 million worldwide says cliches, simple stories, and snowboarding grannies are a-okay.

    I hope I can be a top director someday, too, like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. But I’d also settle for being like one who’s still building his library, like Cory Edwards. Worst case scenario, I’d be tapped to direct a revival of a classic Jim Henson series, and have to read derisive things about myself on the internet.