Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says 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
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.
Positive messages: Positive themes of friendship, acceptance of those who are different, bravery, and selflessness.
Positive 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 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: 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: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue