HOODWINKED writer/director Cory Edwards recently defended criticism of his film on Animation Nation. The primary purpose of Edwards’ post is he would like everybody to believe that the reason HOODWINKED looks the way it does is because of the film’s meager production budget combined with the inexperience of his Philippines production crew.
I initially wrote a lengthy response addressing his comments, but afterwards realized that my thoughts could basically be summed up in two brief ideas:
1.) The budget of HOODWINKED was not the primary barrier to its low artistic quality. Sylvain Chomet’s THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE was produced for a slight $8 million and Masaaki Yuasa’s recent masterpiece MIND GAME was produced for a similarly low figure. My favorite Bill Plympton feature, HAIR HIGH, was produced for well under $1 million. These films, however, were created by artists who understood the medium of animation and who wanted to exploit the unique possibilities inherent within the medium; the films were also created by artists who understood their budget going into the production, and the possibilities and limitations of what such a budget presented. If anything, a small budget can be a blessing that allows filmmakers the freedom to take creative risks that would not be possible on a big budget feature. But HOODWINKED lacks any such artistic motivation. The only vision behind this film, as far as one can tell from the finished results, is a shrewd opportunity to capitalize on the fairytale-skewering success of the SHREK franchise. The production was clearly set up to create a lame CG knockoff of SHREK, and not to create a distinctive animated film appropriate to the budget, like TRIPLETS, MIND GAME or HAIR HIGH.