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 movie contains a fair amount of emotionally draining scenes that may actually hit harder for adults than children. Some eyes may get a little misty watching the adoption process of Balto's cubs -- and the one wide-eyed pup who's consistently passed over and left unadopted. There are a few emotional outbursts (mainly involving anger and feelings of displacement) in this otherwise buoyant animated adventure. Familial relationships are explored from a variety of angles. There are a few tense moments: A hunter shoots his rifle at the main characters before a wolf defends them by attacking the hunter by biting him and knocking him over. A wolf gets into fights with a bear, some badgers, and other wolves. The bear and badgers have red, demonic-looking glowing eyes.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Wolf/dog hybrid Balto (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) needs all the courage he can muster when his only remaining daughter, Aleu (voiced by Lacey Chabert), discovers her father's wolf heritage and runs away in utter defiance of her family's history. Ever the good papa, Balto promises mother Jenna to return the child safe and sound despite risking life and limb from slant-eyed wolverines, cunning foxes, and a sinister, rival pack of wolves that brings his nightmarish fantasies to brimming, painful reality.
Is it any good?
There's no shortage of drama in BALTO II: WOLFQUEST, as everyone's favorite mongrel and his daughter take the long way toward figuring out who they are -- and where they belong. Touching song and dance numbers add to the movie's intensity while presenting some thought-provoking demands of its youthful audience.
Equally balanced with laughs, this sequel offers a perfect blend of entertainment, suspense, and wholesome values to an impressionable audience that is sure to learn the universal consistency of change, the values of self-esteem, and the power of a good dream in one 85-minute sitting. With so many positives, it's easy to forgive the film's tendency to be a little long-winded in certain segments while giving the story's hero, Balto, a decidedly wimpy voice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the self-esteem issues plaguing the principle characters. Does what you are (racially, ethnically, sexually) necessarily define who you are? If not, then what does? Such dialogue could provide a positive springboard for discussion toward a greater appreciation of diversity.
Does the violence in this movie seem appropriate to the action, or does it seem gratuitous?
How are animals (and humans) conveyed in this movie? How do these characterizations compare to other movies in which animals talk?
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