Rated: G Reviewed by: Chris Release date: December 22, 1995 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
This animated film, produced by Steven Spielberg, is based on a true story about some sled dogs who carried a cargo of antitoxin medicine to Nome, Alaska from over 600 miles away.
The hero is scruff-looking Balto (voice by Kevin Bacon), half wolf and half husky. He's ridiculed by the town sled dogs, especially by conceited Steele (voice by Jim Cummings),who makes fun of his being a "half breed" and that no one can really rely on a wolf. Steele is the fasted sled dog in Nome and struts around making sure all the other dogs know about it.
Both dogs are attracted to the foxy female, Jenna (voice by Bridget Fonda),but she prefers Balto's shyness over the arrogance of Steele, much to his chagrin.
When Jenna's owner, a little girl named Rosie, gets sick, the townspeople send a team of dogs headed by Steele to get the lifesaving serum. A blizzard has shut down every other means of transportation and they're hoping the mush team can get through in time. However when the dogs get lost in the storm, it's Balto to the rescue.
There are plenty of disasters that befall Balto and his friends. They endure falling over cliffs and avalanches and the like. Also, Steele is a pretty despicable pooch. He calls Balto names and viciously attacks him every chance he gets.
To lighten things up, Bob Hoskins lends his voice to a funny goose named Boris who pals around with Balto and there are a couple of cute polar bears who can't swim named Muk and Luk.
The animation is good. Each animal has a very expressive face and the hangdog attitude of Balto is very appealing. His big, sad eyes and sagging posture will make both kids and adults root for him to be successful.
The legend of Balto inspired the "Iditarod" sled race that runs every year in Alaska. It is a charming film with entertaining characters and an exciting story that will capture the interest of everyone who sees it.