Where am I up to with this?

Ah yes, I’m now up to my 72nd film in 90 from the ’90s – the ongoing series where I watch and comment on a movie I’ve never watched before!

Past entries in this series have included…. She’s All That (1999)Double Dragon (1994), Wagons East (1994)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and many more. Today it’s the turn of…

Balto (1995)

OK, here are all the things I know about this movie.

  • Balto is a feature-length cartoon about a wolf/dog

Yeah, that’s it – I know NOTHING more about this movie.

I don’t even recall when this movie came out.

I mean, I know it came out in ’95, but I don’t actually remember it ever being at the cinema.

*Clicks the play button*

45seconds – OK, slightly confusing… this movie has opened as a live-action picture and not an animated feature. I’m pretty sure Balto is a cartoon, right? This must be a brief bit of live-action before the story begins then, I guess?

1min 20secs – Miriam Margoyles!

1mins 40secs – According to the opening credits this film has a pretty good cast. As well as Margoyles, Balto features the voice talents of Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Jim Cummings and Phil Collins.

3mins 15secs – And now the animation begins.

10mins – The animation isn’t bad, but it’s not up to the standards of a Disney movie. According to the opening credits, Amblimation is the animation studio behind Balto. Amblimation also worked on We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. Oh…

13mins 30secs – I’m getting ‘straight-to-video’ vibes from this movie. Was Balto a theatrical release? Did it do well? I vaguely recall there being sequels to this film, so I’m guessing it did decent numbers, but I honestly don’t remember anything significant about this movie’s release.

14mins – Balto came out in 1995, so maybe I don’t remember it because I was too busy watching the likes of Batman Forever, Toy Story, Casper, GoldenEye, Jumanji and Waterworld. Well, maybe not Waterworld.

14mins 30secs – I actually DID go to the cinema to watch Waterworld. It was a family event if I recall (i.e. we ALL went to the cinema to watch the movie). Collective disappointment all round.

20mins – It’s at this point I should probably comment on the story of Balto. Er… some dogs (possibly wolves) are doing something. I’ll let you know what it is when I figure it out myself.

24mins – Considering the voice cast involved in this film, the performances so far are pretty bland.

30mins – So… Balto is a film about a dog… who has to get some medicine to a town… rocked by an outbreak of diphtheria!

33mins – Yeah, I’m not really feeling this movie at all.

*Googles Balto*

Balto was directed by Simon Wells. Why does that name ring a bell?

*Googles Simon Wells*

Wells also directed We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. This explains a lot.

Oh, now this is interesting: Simon Wells is the great grandson of author, H. G. Wells!

Jeez, he was also the director of the AWFUL 2002 remake of The Time Machine. I feel like somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this already.

I watched The Time Machine at the cinema when it came out in ’02. It bored the life out of me and I fell asleep through a good ten minutes of it.

Anyway… back to Balto.

43mins – The animation has upped its game somewhat. A very scary bear has turned up and he looks pretty damn cool. A damn cool scary bear.

52mins – The animation continues to improve. Sadly, my interest in this film does not.

1hr 6mins – I’m just over ten minutes from the end of the movie and I’ve barely spoke about the plot. In short: Dogs fetch medicine. Dogs get medicine. Balto is a hero. The end.

1hr 10mins – Back to a live-action sequence now to bookend the film and Miriam Margoyles has turned up again.

1hr 10mins 30secs – Oh, so Balto was based on a true story. Well, at least I learned something from watching this picture. I’m not sure it was worth wasting over an hour of my life to accumulate this knowledge, but least it’s something to end on.

*Clicks stop*

Despite a few flourishes of colour and a scary looking bear, Balto is dull. Very dull.

The voice cast is bland (surprising, considering the talent involved) and the direction is nothing to shout about. How did this movie get sequels?

*Googles Balto again*

According to Wikipedia, Balto performed well on home video, which is why it received two sequels.

What are the sequels about?

Don’t know. Don’t care.

Right, that’s 72 movies in the bag. 72 movies from the 1990s that I’ve watched for the FIRST time. Hurrah!

The 73rd movie is just around the corner, but what will it be? Hopefully not another Balto picture.

You’ll have to come back to find out what it is.