Seve Ballesteros was one of the greatest golfers of all time, winning a multitude of tournaments and titles over a four decade career, a former World Number one, and he still holds the record of most European Tour wins at 50. Famed for his charismatic style of play, and his light-hearted personality and smile, he lit up a sport which is not known for those whose cause a spark on-screen. One of the most renowned Spanish sportsmen, he will always be known as an icon of Golf.
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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.
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