This retelling of the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf will appeal to young children, although children younger than five or six might find the wolves a bit too frightening in some scenes. On an adult level, however, this 80 minute animated film just didn’t have the appeal of some other recent releases such as The Bee Movie and Over the Hedge.

Because this movie comes from Unstable Fables, a partnership between the Jim Henson Co., the Weinstein Co., Flame Ventures and Prana Studios, I had an expectation of something on the caliber of the Muppet Movie. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The story takes place in an urban setting and the wolves are part of a special-ops team that has been unsuccessful in taking down the brick house. The Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs and takes out the straw house and the wood house, but the brick house remains standing. So the Evil Scientist comes up with a plan to gain access to the house. A baby wolf is left in a basket on the pig’s doorstep, and the pigs take him in. The plan is that when the wolf baby, who is named Lucky, grows up he will make sure the wolves have a key to get into the house.

This was a cute idea that could have played out better with sharper dialogue and less stereotyping. Every standard pratfall that three single dads might experience happened to these pigs, including the baby peeing on them and their responses to a rebellious teenager.

But children will probably not quibble over details like that. They will enjoy the action and some of the secondary characters like the Cow Construction Crew that likes to play video games. The pigs are cute and have some funny lines, and the “gangsta” wolf sent to recruit Lucky is a fun character to watch. So is the Evil Scientist, who is a bit over the top, but what else would an evil scientist be?

The DVD was released on March 4, 2008. Starring Jon Cryer and Steve Zahn. Directed by Howard E. Baker and Arish Fyzee.

Maryann Miller  

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