Balto is a 1995 American animated epic drama adventure film directed by Simon Wells, produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is loosely based on a true story about the dog of the same name who helped save children from the diphtheria epidemic in the 1925 serum run to Nome.
Nome, Alaska, 1925. A diphtheria epidemic is sweeping through Nome, and 18 people have already gotten sick. One person who is the owner of Jenna (a dog that Balto has a crush on) gets sick by it. The town's doctor sends for more diphtheria antitoxin, which Nome is out of. A dog team is sent to Nenana to pick up the antitoxin, but on the way back, there is an accident, and the musher is knocked out. When the team doesn't arrive, Balto goes to help them out. He is, of course, bullied by Steele, his rival tries to prevent him so he doesn't take his glory at Nome. Balto ends up leading the team, and on the way back, has an accident, but proves himself by bringing the antitoxin safely to Nome, and becomes a hero. Steele, on the other hand, gets rejected and is despised by the other dogs while Balto ends up with the popularity.
Why It Rocks
- The animation is great, for their last animated movie before Amblimation closed.
- Despite being loosely based on the true event, it teaches really well to many children about the real history.
- Despite having a predictable plot, the movie makes it fun to watch as Balto comes across multiple obstacles to reach his goal.
- Likable characters including Balto, Jenna, Boris and even Steele.
- Excellent emotional scenes, an example being Balto realizing that the children were going to die as the coffins are shown so he wants to save the children.
- Beautiful music from the late James Horner who also did the composed for James Cameron's Titanic and Avatar.
- The romance between Balto and Jenna was handled well.
- It's surprisingly dark for a family movie. For example; Steele tampered the trees to lead Balto the wrong direction to Nome to save the sick children.
- It had two sequels, but they didn't even follow the history of Balto because he died at the age of 14 in true events.
- It was a box office bomb, since it was overshadowed by Disney and Pixar's Toy Story in theaters.
- The movies has a bunch of characters, but most of them didn't have much purpose or did anything.
- Although based on a true story, the film took some liberties with the source material.
- Due to its lackluster performance with critics and box office, the film unfortunately closed down Amblimation.
Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review, describing the film as "a kids' movie, simply told, with lots of excitement and characters you can care about" and gave the film 3 out of 4 stars.