An animated version of the true story of a half-husky, half-wolf sled dog named Balto (Bacon) that, with a dog team, brought a diphtheria serum 600 miles across snowy wilderness to the remote town of Nome in Alaska in 1925 (a trek that inspired the Iditarod dog sled race).
It’s sentimental, of course, as Balto is depicted as a half-breed doggy social outcast who proves to the other dogs what he’s made of (including girlie dog Jenna, voiced by Fonda), but there is some humour, as provided by Hoskins (as Balto’s pal Boris, a Russian snow goose, and polar bears Muk and Luck – both voiced by Phil Collins – who think Balto is their uncle). With a rather obvious plot and unimpressive animation, it’s not a great movie, but it’s a cute shaggy dog story for kids. (Note that, for some odd reason, there is a commemorative statue for the brave dogs – not in Nome, but in Central Park, New York.)
Is Balto suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are some scary scenes when the dogs are fighting, and especially one where Balto is being attacked by a bear.
Young children may be scared to see the very sick children in the movie who need the diptheria serum.