A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this third installment of the animated Balto movies includes some scenes of action and peril, like a plane crash and a near escape from a fall, along with other cartoonish pratfalls. The importance of doing the right thing, especially the need to set aside past differences when someone is in trouble, is a strong message here. The main story is interspersed with a funny storyline regarding flirtations between a pair of geese.
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What's the story?
Balto (Maurice LaMarche), along with help from his son Cody (Sean Astin) and the rest of the dog pack, are happy to be sled dogs delivering the mail between Nome and White Mountain, Alaska in the early Spring of 1928. All this changes when a pilot named Duke arrives with his propeller plane, offering to deliver the mail, claiming to be able to deliver it faster than the dogs can. The townspeople decide to have a contest between Duke and the sled dogs; the fastest of the two gets the job. However, things go awry when Duke's plane goes down on the return trip from White Mountain, and Balto and his friends must choose between winning the contest or saving Duke's life.
Is it any good?
This third installment of the Balto series feels a bit padded here and there with superfluous songs and boy-goose-meets-girl-goose side stories. But the central story of dogs vs. plane is engaging enough to keep everyone in the family interested.
It's a decent mix of action and comic relief, plus enthralling chase scenes and characters learning to do the right thing. Furthermore, as it's set in 1928 Nome, Alaska, BALTO 3: WINGS OF CHANGE also provides an opportunity for families to discuss what day-to-day reality was like for those who lived there back then, and how it contrasts with how we live today.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages in this movie. What lessons did Balto teach his son? What would you have done in Balto's place? Did you ever wonder what choice Balto would make, or did you expect him to help Duke?
What similarities and differences do you see between the dogs, polar bears, geese, and moose in this movie. Why do you think the filmmakers made them act like they do?
What qualities make Balto a good "pack leader," and how are those shown during the film?
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