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The true story of a 1925 sled team's 'serum run' across Alaska, and its husky hero Balto. Whereas Disney would have pillaged the facts for its own exacting purposes, the makers of this half-hearted animated feature let the story ramble on with a minimum of second-hand plotting and characterisation. Balto being the archetypal dog-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks, when diphtheria strikes Nome, his services aren't required for the team that must fetch the life-saving anti-toxin. Injustice is compounded by the team being led by the pure-breed Steele, vain, scheming, town favourite and Balto's rival for the beautiful Jenna. The one notable spin on the story is that Balto's half-wolf. As you'd expect, we start with the old boy having internalised prejudices about his lack of pedigree; only when he's stuck down a canyon does he realise the advantages of his make-up. Mismatched TV-standard animation styles (plus some one-dimensional live action inserts); a Hoskins-voiced Russian émigré goose (fun); and a pair of comic-relief polar bears (Collins-voiced, and not fun). Probably insufficient for any but the least demanding kids.

By: NB

Release details

Duration: 77 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Simon Wells
Screenwriter: David Steven Cohen, Roger SH Schulman
Cast: Miriam Margolyes
Bob Hoskins
Bridget Fonda
Phil Collins
Jim Cummings
Donald Sinden