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Balto Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Brave dog saves kids in funny, fact-based film.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are thrills aplenty in this 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. On the positive side, the movie promotes acceptance and reinforces the value of friendship.

  • Families can talk about Balto's struggle to fit in. Was it fair of the other dogs not to accept him? Can you think of examples this type of unfair judgment that you've witnessed?
  • How did Balto's friends help him in difficult times? Are your friends there for you when you're having problems?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Since the movie is based on a true story, kids will learn some lessons about the role dogs play in Alaska's rural communities.

  • message true3

    Messages: Positive themes of friendship, acceptance of those who are different, bravery, and selflessness.

  • rolemodels true2

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and 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. Dogs in this movie growl and fight. There are also bonks on the head given for comedic effect.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: 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.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue

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