“Latte and the Magic Waterstone” is an animated adventure for the very young, a tale with all the narrative complexity of an “Ice Age,” CG animated at a Nickelodeon level.
It’s European, a Flemish production, something you can tell just by looking at its “star.”
No dear, there are no hedgehogs in North America. But yes, they are adorable.
Latte, voiced by Ashley Bornancin, is a loner hedgehog in a forest where everybody else — from the boars to the rabbits — has family. She’d love to make a friend, even “a scaredy squirrel” will do.
But standing up to the meadow critters bullying Tjum (Carter Hastings) doesn’t impress the red squirrel. Much. And their roughhousing busts a precious water-storage pumpkin in a forest where the river has run dry.
After everybody assumes Latte caused this latest calamity — “BLAME the hedgehog!” — the “raving raven,” a seer, shows up and decrees that somebody needs to travel far, to the land of the (sometimes French-accented) bears to retrieve the Magic Waterstone and end their drought.
Latte stomps off, all “I’ll show THEM.” Tjum eventually follows, as they meet a beaver and a toad who help them, and tricky wolves and a lynx who don’t.
“Big angry cat with pointy ears? Got it.”
The industrious beaver is planning for the return of water, and explains that with a stutter.
“Better be be be a busy beaver before badness be be befalls!”
That’s about as edgy and un-PC as this movie gets. It is of European origin, after all.
The action — chases, including one down a wet riverbed waterslide — is barely enough to keep even the sippy cup set diverted. The characters are generic, and the voice actors competent, but a fairly colorless lot.
But as Netflix screen babysitting services go, you could do worse.
MPAA Rating: TV-PG
Cast: The voices of Ashley Bornancin, Carter Hastings and Daniel Amerman.
Credits: Directed by Regina Welker and Nina Wels, script by Martin Behnke, Andrea Deppert and Jesper Møller, based on the book by Sebastian Lybeck. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:22