6 March 2005 | ~AleXa~
Much better than the 2nd, but still lacking...
Overall, for a direct-to-video movie, this was pretty good. There actually was a coherent plot, better character writing (as compared to the 2nd one), and awesome graphics. But, I still don't feel that this movie captured the true essence of Balto.
My two biggest problems with this movie are 1) the voices. It really detracts from animated sequels when they don't use the same actors. I sit there through half the movie not really believing it's that character because I'm trying to get used to the different voice. And 2) The writers conveniently left Aleu out of the story just to better fit their plot. That makes the story even less believable to me because you know he has a daughter and she's just not there...I mean, at least give an explanation as to why she's not in the story. And yes, this is a kid's animated movie, and some may argue that I'm holding my standards too high, but one of the key elements to making a successful sequel is to make it believable--you have to feel like you're in the movie, and believe what you're seeing.
As for the actual content of the movie, the plot in this one is much better. There actually is a purpose, and while it's not as heroic or pivotal as in the first Balto, it is still important. Personally, I think it would've been a lot more interesting if Balto had been in a race and gotten hurt somewhere in the wilderness, and his son Kodiak & his daughter Aleu had to lead a team to find him and save him. I would also have put Jenna on Balto's team...I don't like that she just sits on the sidelines and delivers good advice--her character has much more potential than that. I think the solo sequences with Boris & Stella detract from the movie. It started off well because we care about Boris and like that he's found someone, but then they just go off the deep end with the song and dance number. The only song worthwhile in this movie was Jenna's song to Balto, but even then, the 'lyrics' as it were are so one-dimensional and juvenile I couldn't decide whether to laugh or scoff.
Overall, I think the ratings for this sequel are inflated because the 2nd one was such a disappointment. The big difference with this movie is that it does partially recapture the feel of the first Balto, but the characters are still severely underdeveloped and a little typecast. So while this movie is definitely watchable, there wasn't enough conflict and/or obstacles in this movie to make it interesting and further the plot along, especially considering there is no villain.
Kudos to the CG animators and directors, but next time work on better character development and PLEASE, if you can't get the same voice talents, get some with the same voice tone.
5.5 out of 10