Everyone’s Hero (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Though I’ve belted you and flayed you, by the living god that made you,
if you can watch a feature length cartoon without falling asleep, you’re
a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
That’s what I did today. I went to this film not knowing it was a
cartoon (OK, to be politically correct, it’s animated). It’s about a
little cartoon character who has to find Babe Ruth’s stolen bat (Whoopi
Goldberg) because his father has been fired from his Yankee job because
it’s been stolen on his watch. Helped by a talking baseball (Rob Reiner,
in a brilliant bit of casting), he goes through the trials of Hercules
to find the bat, recover it, and get it back to the Babe in time for the
World Series game.
a feature length cartoon goes, this is pretty good. It is poignant
because the Executive Producers are Christopher Reeve and his wife,
Dana. I think Dana should be canonized into sainthood before anyone else
because of how she cared for Christopher. I’m convinced that what she
had to go through is what killed her and left her son without parents.
They apparently really had a strong feeling for this movie because it’s
about not giving up, a concept for which they should be the poster
reason I loathed Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” so much is that
I thought it was an affront to people like the Reeves who persevered and
tried to survive in the face of almost hopeless odds. While Eastwood’s
film extolled giving up, Christopher and Dana kept going and gave the
world something to admire. This might be my last chance, so I reiterate
what I felt at the time as reflected in my review, A Pox On Million
Dollar Baby and what it stands for!
wish the Reeves had hired me as a technical adviser, though, because
there are some needless historical inaccuracies. Because this is a
cartoon, it should have been dead on with a little good research. The
Yankee Stadium they show is not the Yankee Stadium in which the Babe
played. It is the renovated Stadium, circa 1990, with its green outfield
fence. The babe played in a stadium that had a chain link type railing,
only four feet high, in right and left fields.
big game in Chicago has to be against the Cubs because it’s the World
Series. The only World Series that Babe’s Yankees played against the
Cubs was 1932 (the Yankees swept in four, after the Babe’s famous
“called shot” homerun in the third game). But that would mean that the
game was played in Wrigley Field. The stadium in this film doesn’t
resemble Chicago’s Wrigley Field in the slightest. Since this is a
cartoon, why not be accurate?
Another minor thing is that Babe’s manager is clearly Joe Torre. Joe
Torre wasn’t even born when the Babe was playing. In 1932 the Yankee
manager was Joe McCarthy.
There are other inaccuracies, like blacks apparently playing in
organized baseball (there is a black team called “Cincinnati.” It is
shown as being all black. There was not a Cincinnati team in the Negro
Leagues as far as I can remember, and there were no black baseball
players in Organized Baseball between 1888 and 1946). This of course,
didn’t happen until Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the
Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Well, this is a fable, so facts are irrelevant, and it’s well done. The
inaccuracies don’t hurt it at all unless you are a baseball purist, as
am I. If you can stomach feature length animation, this is a good one,
and it spits in Million Dollar Baby’s eye, which is a good thing.
September 7, 2006