CIFF Review: George the Hedgehog


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The introductory paragraph for reviews should accomplish a number of things: First, they should summarize the general tone of the film. Secondly, they should hint at the reviewer’s opinion of the film. Lastly, they should hook the reader in to ensure they actually read the review of the film. The following paragraph is my attempt at accomplishing the three of these key points.

George the Hedgehog is the Polish mash-up of The Simpsons’ Bart Simpson, South Park‘s satire, and Family Guy‘s irreverence. Did that say enough?

George the Hedgehog (Jeż Jerzy)
Directors: Wojciech Wawszczyk, Jakub Tarkowski and Tomasz Leśniak
Rating: TBD
Country: Poland

George is a hip, alcohol-drinking, sex-crazed, skateboarding Polish hedgehog that just wants to live life and have fun with his childhood friend/secret girlfriend, Yolanda. Of course, all cool guys in media always have bullies, and his just so happen to be a skinhead bully from childhood and his dimwitted sidekick. The bullies team up with two scientists planning “Project Idol,” which is a calculated algorithm to create the perfect idol the world would love and they could control. Surprisingly, the computer determines that the idol must be a hedgehog, so they set out to get George’s DNA. The result, however, is a deformed, vulgar hedgehog that, somehow, gets support from a political candidate, as well as love from the masses. Mistaken to be the real George, the clone causes havoc across the country, leaving a large mess for the real George to fix.

From the get-go, George the Hedgehog sets itself apart from its animated counterparts, at least in terms of topicality. He’s like any other 20-something, constantly drinking, shades of a rebellious attitude, and a man that loves himself some ladies. However, all of it just seems like a shallow attempt at making George an edgy character, reminiscent of the overflow of “Toons with ‘tude” during the 90s. As previously mentioned, the film borrows ideas and concepts from some contemporary cartoons, and the directors make light of this, inserting a Bart Simpson-like character in the background of some scenes throughout the film.

However, beyond the failings of its shallow vulgarity lies a deeper message that the directors buried amidst the furry sex and inebriation. The idea of creating the “biggest money-making machine since Michael Jackson” brings to question both society’s obsession with celebrities. The clone George is finds fame by farting, flipping birds, and spitting everywhere. George the Hedgehog‘s rebel yell, however, is sadly left mostly unexplored and perhaps too subtle.

Technically, the film is animated digitally. Perhaps because of this, the animation feels wooden and stiff. It reminds me of Flash videos from the beginning of the millenium. Beyond the weird animation, though, the art is amazing. George the Hedgehog is vibrant and detailed. As it turns out, the film is an adaptation of a comic book series in Poland.

George the Hedgehog is a mature take on animated films that takes a satirical approach on society. However, this message is buried beneath the vulgarity that most people will remember it for. If you can get past the fart jokes and the weak overall plot (gamers will recognize it resembling Sonic Adventure 2‘s plot), you’ll find comfort knowing there’s something of more depth. However, it’s not enough to save George the Hedgehog from irrelevance. The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy have collectively done everything George the Hedgehog strived to accomplish, but in more entertaining and satisfying ways.