It might be the funny name. Hedgehogs. When my son first heard, he had an uncontrollable laughing fit. A week later, he still chuckles and says Hedgehogs from time to time. Ah, to be so young and carefree that a simple word can elicit such humor and enjoyment.
Thankfully, for the rest of us, Hedgehogs is another in a long line of quality animated family fare that helps to keep parents' sanity. In much the same way that my kids took a shine to Americano last year, they immediately fell in love with Hedgehogs and the repeat viewings are still ongoing.
Bobby is a hedgehog who befriends a portly pigeon and they must band together to save their habitat from the encroachment of humans. So, basically, just about every animated animal film ever created.
While the story might not be the most original one in the world, the key to its success rests in its ability to entertain the younger set for 90-minute clips. I'm pretty sure that Lionsgate has tread upon this plot before in films such as Norm of the North among others, but it's a popular story because it works.
Neither my kids nor I were familiar with the web "stars" that voice the majority of the animals, but it doesn't matter. They do an admirable job of bringing the two-dimensional characters to life and that's all that matters. For those of us that were born before 2000, two voices that you will recognize belong to Jon Heder and Chevy Chase. They bring a certain gravitas to their characters and helps to elevate the film to another level.
Still, make no mistake, Hedgehogs won't be competing for any major awards, but that's not the point. The film exists to teach kids values and entertain them while their parents get an hour and a half of their life back. We had similar fare back in the day, so films like this take the place of standouts from our childhood including The Secret of HIMH, The Rescuers and Ferngully among many others.
There are some interesting themes such as human infringement on nature and the need to take time to relax that really hit home these days. The film does a good job of balancing entertainment and messages so that kids don't even realize that they are learning good traits that they will put to good use one day.
Hedgehogs is new this week on DVD and if your kids are anything like mine, it will be on heavy rotation at your house soon.