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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 44:37)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Documentaries
Balto
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 74 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Based on a true story, this animated feature is wonderful entertainment for the whole family. In 1925, in the remote town of Nome, Alaska, an outbreak of diphtheria is attacking the local children. Being in the depths of winter, the only way to get the required antitoxin to the town in time is via a dog sled team. The dog sled team that is sent, led by Steele, gets lost and Balto decides to go and find them and bring home the antitoxin. The dangers are endless, just when you think he has survived one catastrophe, something else happens. Balto is also confronted by another issue, being a half-breed, he cannot determine if he is supposed to be a wolf or a dog. Will he find the team and get the antitoxin back in time? Will he also win the heart of Jenna, the pure bred husky?

The true story has been changed quite a lot for dramatic effect, but it is still a very uplifting tale of endurance, fidelity and intelligence. These three words are now engraved on a statue of Balto in New York's Central Park, a testament to the courage of this incredible dog and his team mates. There is even a world renowned sled race covering the same track used by the originals, over 600 miles in length, commemorating the achievement.

Balto is a beautiful film and one that children and adults alike will enjoy. With a running time of 74:18, this film is just about the right length. Some animated features can tend to drag but, this one should keep the kids interested throughout. Voices for the main characters are supplied courtesy of Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Bob Hoskins and Phil Collins, who all do a fine job. Steven Speilberg also adds to the list of big names, being one of the producers.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this is a beautiful transfer. The picture is sharp and colours are stunning, even though the predominant colour is white. There are no signs of artefacts and the source used is of a very high standard, making this a pleasurable visual experience. The layer change occurs at 44:37, although mid-scene, it is not mid-dialogue and is therefore unobtrusive.

Audio was a pleasant surprise, being Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is terrific, with the majority of dialogue coming from the centre speakers and the surrounds used to great effect for both directional effects and for the music score. The subwoofer gets a little use, mainly to emphasise effects. Subtitles supplied are English only and are true to the original dialogue.

Extras come in the way of two Theatrical Trailers and a Documentary. The first trailer is for the feature itself and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with DD 2.0 and runs for 2:12. The second is for the film ET and is presented in 1.78:1 and DD 2.0, running for 1:30. The documentary, although only running for 26:47, is very informative and entertaining. It covers the story of the real Balto, including photos and footage from the time, along with interviews with people that were actually there. There are also interviews with the director, the head of animation and Steven Speilberg, covering how this film came to be made. One small point, be sure to watch the film before watching the documentary as it is the real story and may influence your viewing pleasure.


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  •   And I quote...
    "A delightful animated feature for the whole family."
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai DV-P2000
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Akai AM-SS1500
    • Speakers:
          Akai
    • Centre Speaker:
          Akai
    • Surrounds:
          Akai
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
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