A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hedgehogs is an English-dubbed version of a Chinese-produced animated adventure about the journey of a proud hedgehog named Bobby (voiced by Anthony Padilla) who suffers from memory loss and forgets his identity. The movie -- which features the voices of internet stars like Padilla, Ian Hecox, and Jenn McAllister -- has a few mild insults like "stupid" and "weirdo" and a few violent confrontations between animals, as well as between animals and humans. There's a gratuitous scene of a man checking out a woman's behind and two sets of animal "boyfriends and girlfriends" (who flirt and nearly kiss). Animal-loving purists may be bothered by the fact that the hedgehogs are portrayed inaccurately (the animals are actually nocturnal and don't throw their quills like porcupines do, for example), but many viewers won't know the difference, and young kids will likely be entertained by Bobby's adventures with his pigeon friends and the hedgehog community, which ultimately promotes themes of friendship, teamwork, and asking for help.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
HEDGEHOGS follows Bobby (voiced by Anthony Padilla), a reckless, arrogant, alpha-male hedgehog who lives in an idyllic community where all the hedgehogs consume a "yummy fruit" that keeps them happy and full. During a confrontation with a badger predator over the fruit, Bobby is hurt and ends up in the big city, suffering from severe memory loss: He doesn't even know he's a hedgehog anymore. Bobby meets Hubert, a large, friendly pigeon who declares him a feather-less bird whose wings must've been injured (explaining why he can't fly). As an act of friendship, Hubert creates wings for Bobby to fasten to his body, which allows him to truly be part of the bird clan ... until Bobby once again encounters the badger, who calls him a "stupid hedgehog" and explains that the real threat to hedgehogs isn't other animals but the humans who want them -- and their habitats -- destroyed. So Bobby hatches a plan to defeat the human exterminators sent to hurt his family and friends.
Is it any good?
Sporting a colorful palette and a familiar hero's journey, this animated adventure is far from outstanding, but it'll be fine for younger audiences who can't get enough of animal comedies. That said, let's get one key thing out of the way: Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which is just one of several fundamental truths about the animals that this movie gets wrong. They also can't throw their spines like porcupines. Of course, hedgehogs also don't speak, so maybe the filmmakers can be forgiven for stretching and changing the facts about the adorable animals.
Bobby's story is a clear mistaken-identity comedy, and his friendship with Hubert the pigeon is cute enough -- particularly when Hubert makes Bobby wings so he can fly with the rest of the birds. Where the story suffers -- and lags -- is in the various subplots involving evil, greedy humans and unnecessary romances (Bobby's hedgehog love interest even has "curly," fashionable spines that she doesn't raise during a fight, like the guys do!). And, as a villain, the angry badger (or whatever animal he's supposed to be) isn't all that frightening, but that's probably for the best. The movie is best when it concentrates on the importance of friendship and teamwork, but with so many excellent family-friendly animated movies available, this one is ultimately below par: It's fine to stream for a few laughs, but nothing you'd buy for your personal collection.
Talk to your kids about ...
Which parts of the movie were scary for you? Why? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?
Why do you think talking-animal movies are so popular? What are some of your favorites?
How authentic is the movie's information about hedgehogs? Did watching it make you want to learn more about the animals?
- In theaters: December 15, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: February 13, 2018
- Cast: Anthony Padilla, Jenn McAllister, Ian Hecox, Chevy Chase, Jon Heder
- Director: Jianming Huang
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Wild Animals
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action and some mild rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.