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Movie Review

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.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

G

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Voices of Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Phil Collins, Jim Cummings

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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