Balto - * *

Surprisingly unengaging animated adventure set in Nome, Alaska. Balto is the hero of the story, half-wolf and half-husky. He yearns for acceptance, but his only true friends are a Russian duck, a pair of water-shy polar bears, and a female husky named Jenna. When diptheria strikes the town during a cruel winter, a team of sled dogs must make a trek across the wilderness to retrieve some serum. Although Balto is the fastest dog in the town, the job instead goes to his rival, Steel. Yet, when Steel gets into trouble and can’t make it back to Nome, it’s Balto to the rescue. However, halfway through the film, Balto jettisons both its antagonist and the comic relief, becoming purely a race of the sled dogs against the wilderness. Children should find the film entertaining enough, but Balto lacks the qualities that make the best animated films a draw to both children and adults.

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