A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Since the movie is based on a true story, kids will learn some lessons about the role dogs play in Alaska's rural communities.
Positive themes of friendship, acceptance of those who are different, bravery, and selflessness.
Positive Role Models
Friends help each other save the day. Their friendship is almost as important as the main character's heroic deeds, because they encourage him to believe in himself.
Violence & Scariness
This adventure contains plenty of peril: from dogs falling off of snowy cliffs to children who are so ill that their lives hang in the balance. We see small coffins being fit for those kids who might not make it through the epidemic. Dogs growl and fight. Some kids will be scared of Steele, the bully, and the grizzly bear. There are also bonks on the head given for comedic effect.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirtatious behavior between dogs. "I know where all of the bones are buried," says Steele to Jenna when he is trying to get her to go out with him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are thrills aplenty in Balto, an animated adventure based on a true story about rural Alaskan kids with a serious illness. Youngest viewers might not understand the threat that looms over the town, but older kids will get the gravity of the situation when they see small coffins being fit for those kids who might not make it through the epidemic. Dogs growl and fight and are in peril; some kids will be scared of Steele, the bully, and the grizzly bear. On the positive side, the movie promotes acceptance and reinforces the value of friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though it's not the most original or beautifully animated kids' movie out there, Balto is engaging, and kids will probably be quite entertained. There are some good laughs, and the voice performances are well done. Be aware that there is some peril and scary scenes involving the mean dog Steele and a grizzly bear encounter. Kids may also get upset when they see the small coffins that are being made for kids who might not survive the epidemic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.