Film Scouts Reviews


by Eleanor Ringel

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No, it's not about the long-lost brother of Groucho, Harpo and Chico. This is a beautifully-executed, edge-of-your-seat animated adventure that goes full-mush almost from its first frame. The story is based on the true-life journey of a heroic sled dog named Balto who brought an anti-diptheria medicine to Nome, Alaska in 1925, thus saving the lives of hundreds of children. A statue of the dog stands in Central Park today and, fittingly, that's that's where the film begins, with a live-action prologue. Then fade to animated Nome, 1925, and a dog's-eye view of the story. Balto (Kevin Bacon) is the town outcast; a half-dog-, half-wolf hybrid, he hangs out with other misfits. They include a loosey-goosey Canadian goose named Boris (voiced by Bob Hoskins as a Zero Mostel homage) and a pair of roly-poly polar bears (Phil Collins.) The town's top dog is a glory hound named Steele, but a beautiful husky named Jenna (Bridget Fonda)sees through him. When her mistress comes down with diphtheria, she goes to Balto for help. His heart-stopping journey includes everything from an avalanche to a grizzly the size of King Kong. But the movie is more than just an adventure tale; it's also a story of perseverance, courage, tolerance and puppy love. And Jenna and Balto have got to be the best-looking canine couple this side of Lady and the Tramp.

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