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In the brutal winter of 1925, a team of sled dogs carried antitoxin across 600 miles of arctic tundra to diphtheria-stricken Nome, Alaska. The town was saved, and the dogs' heroic trek inspired what has become the world-famous Iditarod cross-country dog sled race.
Based on that true story, the animated adventure Balto also addresses the question, "Can a half-breed wolf overcome the pride of a rival sled dog, the prejudice of townspeople, and find love in the paws of a well-groomed husky?" Adults may be pleasantly surprised—not just by the happy ending, but also by the wealth of discussion material presented.
Balto is a kind-hearted canine shunned by villagers who fear he might be dangerous simply because he is part wolf. This identity crisis forces Balto to live in seclusion and self-doubt. His only friends are a Russian snow goose, two hydrophobic polar bears and a dog named Jenna. But when disease threatens the town's children—and a pedigree sled team, led by the arrogant Steel, loses its way—Balto quietly sets out to save the day, followed by his faithful pals. Young children may find several scenes a bit intense (a grizzly bear attack, children struggling with illness, etc.), but all ends well. Also, this uplifting film can be used to educate as it entertains:
— How do these characters model teamwork, humility, dedication and trust?
— Discuss how Balto uses shards of glass to show Jenna beauty in brokenness.
— Contrast Steel's quest for glory and Balto's humble servanthood in light of Luke 14:7-11 and 18:9-14.
— Why does the goose lament, "Not a dog. Not a wolf. All he sees is what he is not."? Encourage children to embrace their uniqueness as creations of God.
Balto is a rental the whole family can enjoy together—a celebration of virtue that's good, clean fun.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Voices of Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Phil Collins, Jim Cummings