At first glance I thought this was going to be a twee animation about baseball which I, like many other Brits, have no interest in. What interested me though was that it was Christopher Reeve’s last film (he partly directs). The truth is that this is a charming movie, with fewer self mocking moments which made Shrek so successful, and one which has so far slipped under the carpet unnoticed. The film did poorly when released, partly because it has nothing to do with Disney/Pixar, and partly because the cast lacks one truly BIG name. The cast is ok, with Goldberg, Reiner, and William H Macey, well acted and well suited to the parts. The animation is solid, and the score is good, again lacking some of the big hitters that Disney are known to pump out.
Baseball fanatic Yankee goes on a cross country journey to retrieve Babe Ruth’s lucky bat Darlin (Goldberg) after it is stolen. His father is blamed and fired from his job as janitor of the Yankees, and in getting the bat back, Yankee can prove his father’s innocence. It turns out that a rival team have stolen the bat in the hopes that this will stop the Yankee’s from winning the World Series.
The film’s fun comes from the relationship between bat, boy, and ball- the charm from the moments between boy and father. There are funny moments as the bad guy tries to steal the bat again, and the look and feel of 30’s America/Chicago is authentic. There is enough for adults to enjoy here, and while not as flashy and famous as other films of this kind, there is plenty for kids to like. Certain moments verge on smelly side of cheese and it is perfectly predictable, but as it is primarily a kids movie we can’t complain too harshly about that. A movie which doesn’t deserve to be swept away unseen.