Thursday, January 25, 2024

Nina and the Hedgehog's Secret (2023) Animation First 2024

Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, who did the excellent CAT IN PARIS and THE PHANTOM BOY return to feature films with a wonderful story about a young girl, her best friend, and the hedgehog character her father created.

The film follows Nina and her friend Medhi. When their fathers lose their jobs the kids aren’t sure what to do. However when they hear stories of a treasure at the factory where their dads used to work they form a plan to break in and get it.

This is another winner from Gagnol and Felicioli. Like their earlier films they have crafted a film filled with laughs and chills. Gloriously refusing to talk down to their audience, they have made a film that works at adult subjects from a kids point of view. The result is a film that I wanted to watch a second time as soon as I finished my first time through. Their style also allows for some genuine tension since how they slant events it’s not clear how they will play out or if the kids will get eaten by the big dog.

I can’t say enough good about the film, it’s such a delight. I’m kind of annoyed that I didn’t get to see it in a theater full of kids since listening to them react would have made it so much more fun.

I love the cartoon hedgehog. A throw back to the Disney/ Iwerks films of the late 20’s and early 30’s, it just works because the humor is spot on for now and then. Also the use of the character wonderfully hides the message of not giving up in plain sight during the entire film.

An absolute must see.

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