Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 3D Blu-ray Review
The Blu-ray release of Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs Evil is Region A locked and includes both the 2D and 3D versions of the film on separate discs. The 1080p/24 2D transfer is encoded using the AVC codec and the 1080p/24 3D transfer is encoded using the MVC codec; both versions are framed at 1.78:1. As you would expect from a computer generated animation, the picture is colourful throughout but resolution appears a bit soft overall, especially when compared to offerings from Pixar or Dreamworks. As a result of this lack of resolution, the imagery is unspectacular and the animation is lacking in nuanced detail, which restrains the feature from really popping. The colours are richly saturated throughout, with excellent shading and the blacks are deep and solid, with revealing shadow delineation. Since the source is digital the transfer is clean and free of any banding, ringing or compression artefacts. The 2D presentation is quite pleasing overall but does not attain a reference-quality score when measured against other intricately and more realistically detailed animated imagery.
Unusually for a computer generated animated feature, the 3D for Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil was created in post-production, using 2D to 3D conversion. This is unusual because most computer generated animation is rendered with a second stereoscopic point of view created at the time of the original animation. The reason for converting Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil to 3D after the animation was complete was due to the delays in its release coinciding with the boom in 3D movies in 2010. The release of the film was delayed by over a year to allow for the conversion, despite never being conceived for 3D. The 2D to 3D stereoscopic conversion was done by Stereo Pictures Dynamic 3D in South Korea, with additional conversion done by MG Studios and Cubist Studios in the US. As with The Lion King and The Nightmare Before Christmas, the 3D conversion is actually quite good, no doubt because of the relatively simplistic animation and the amount of time available to the conversion process. The addition of 3D really enhances the storytelling, with depth perception appearing impressive throughout and the images placed in positive parallax (behind the plane of the screen) for most of the running time. The depth budget used for the 3D conversion has avoided anything in extreme positive parallax which results in a comfortable viewing experience. There are also very few objects placed in negative parallax (in front of the screen plane) which means the 3D effect is very much like looking through a window. At times there are occasional instances of crosstalk but this is very slight and never detracts from the 3D experience and overall this is an effective 3D transfer. Whilst Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil lacks the truly immersive 3D experience offered by films such as Cars 2, it does show that, with animation at least, a post-production 2D to 3D conversion can work.
The Blu-ray of Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that is the same for both the 2D and the 3D version. Unfortunately, the sound mix does not appear to have any LFE signal, aside from a single explosion, and therefore lacks the kind of dynamic punch we have come to expect from a modern feature. In fact the sound level of the entire sound mix is always reserved and below reference which results in a rather underwhelming experience. The music score, while recorded well, is essentially buried in the mix and the ADR recorded dialogue is front and centre but lacking in any spatial integration. In fact, this is one of the most front focused soundtracks we have heard in some time and whilst there is occasional surround action that envelops the viewer, it is minimal. Due to the nature of animated feature soundtracks, they often have a very dynamic sound mix and precise localisation, with the soundtrack of Cars 2 being a very good example of this. Sadly the soundtrack Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil is something of a disappointment and the lack of dynamic range or surround envelopment fails to engage in 2D or add to the immersive experience of 3D.
The 3D Blu-ray release of Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil comes in a four disc set, with first Blu-ray disc containing just the 3D version of the film. On the second Blu-ray disc there is the 2D version of the film and the bonus features. The third disc is a Region 1 locked DVD containing the film in standard definition as well as the same bonus features included on the 2D Blu-ray. Finally, on the fourth disc is a digital copy of the film in standard definition, although you won’t be able to access this in the UK, since it is a US disc.
The bonus features are something of a disappointment and are limited to a few music videos and brief production featurette, all of which are presented in standard definition, even on the 2D Blu-ray.
- “I Can’t Do It Alone” - (SD, 03:34) - This a music video for one of the songs featured in the movie, and is sung by the film’s star, Hayden Panettiere. As is often the case with film related music videos, it is a combination of Hayden singing into a microphone and clips from the film itself.
- “You Know It” - Lavay Cole (SD, 03:02) - Another song from the movie, this time sung by Lavay Cole (yes we’d never heard of him either) and again includes filmed scenes of Lavay cut together with the same clips used in Hayden Panettiere’s music video.
- “Perfect Too” - CeeJ (SD, 03:13) - The final (thank God) song from the film’s soundtrack and again we have another singer we’ve never heard of, this time CeeJ, and a video consisting of filmed scenes intercut with same clips used on the previous two music videos.
- The Voices of Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil - (SD, 19:13) - This is a standard production featurette that contains interviews with all the principal voice cast, who explain how they became involved in the production and discuss their characters and their approach to creating that character’s voice. It never ceases to amaze us that an actor can talk about voicing an animated frog as if they were playing Shakespeare!
- Production Artwork - This is section that allows you to step through a series of production artwork for both layouts and character design.
- Storyboard Sequences - This is a section that allows you to compare the original storyboards with a couple of the finished scenes in the movie.
The Blu-ray release of Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil is a Region A four disc set that includes the 3D and 2D versions on separate discs, as well as a DVD and a digital copy. The film itself is something of a misguided venture that misses the mark and ultimately falls between two stools. The main problem is that the film is too childish for adults but many of the jokes are too adult for children. In addition, the animation is rather simplistic, especially when compared to most other computer animation, resulting in a decidedly cheap looking feature. The impressive voice cast tries hard but ultimately they can’t save the film from a weak script and a lack of imagination.
The 2D version is a 1080p/24 Blu-ray that is encoded using the AVC codec and framed at 1.78:1. The transfer suffers from being surprisingly soft, especially considering it is a computer animated feature. The Blu-ray lacks the fine detail you would expect from computer animation but at least the colours are saturated and the blacks solid. Since the source is digital, the transfer is clean and free of banding, ringing or compression artefacts. The 1080p/24 3D version was converted in post production but the results are reasonably effective and whilst the conversion remains largely in positive parallax it does add to the story. There is occasional crosstalk but on the whole this is well transferred 3D presentation that is free of other artefacts.
Both the 2D and the 3D versions come with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack but unfortunately, the sound mix lacks the kind of dynamic punch we have come to expect from a modern feature. In fact the sound level of the entire sound mix is always reserved and below reference which is a disappointment and the lack of dynamic range or surround envelopment fails to engage in 2D or add to the immersive experience of 3D.
Along with the soft image and weak sound, the extras are also a disappointment, with a limited number of bonus features, including three music videos, a short featurette, some production artwork and some storyboards. Ultimately, it is difficult to recommend Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil because the animation is mediocre, the presentation is underwhelming and the film itself will struggle to find an audience.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £39.99
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