Everyone's Hero (2006)

Click Poster to Purchase

Get Showtimes...
Fandango - Movie Tickets Online

Review #250 of 365
Film: Everyone's Hero (2006) [G] 88 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $8.75
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 18 September 2006
Time: 9:45 p.m.

Directed by: Christopher Reeve (better known as the actor who was Superman)
Screenplay by: Robert Kurtz ("Grade Under Fire" & "Boy Meets World") and Jeff Hand (Brother Bear)
Story by: Howard Jonas
Featured Cast (Where I Remember Him/Her From):
Jake T. Austin (The Ant Bully) • Cherise Boothe (Inside Man) • Brian Dennehy (10th and Wolf) • Whoopi Goldberg (Doogal) • William H. Macy (Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman & Thank You for Smoking) • Mandy Patinkin ("Dead Like Me") • Dana Reeve ("Oz") • Rob Reiner (Alex and Emma) • Raven-Symone (Cheetah Girls 2) • Robert Wagner (Hoot) • Forest Whitaker ("The Shield") • Surprise Guest (Aladdin & RV)

Soundtrack: Download now from John Ondrasik - Everyone's Hero (Music from the Motion Picture)- or - order the CD soundtrack below

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
The new animated film, Everyone's Hero brings with it some sentimental aspects due to the fact that it was Christopher Reeve's final project, he directed, and both he and his wife produced. Dana Reeve also voiced the lead character's mother. So, fans of the Reeves may flock to see the film for this reason alone. Beyond the respectful and sentimental aspects of the film, though, it should be judged on its own merit where, unfortunately, it falls into the middle of the pack on the scale of animated films released this year. In any other year, it might have been more of a stand out, yet when one has to compete with Monster House and Pixar's Cars, well, it's going to be tough. The animation for the film is a stylized version where the characters look as though they are carved by experts from wood and smoothed. This gives them a visually appealing look that fits well with its subject matter. The story concerns a ten year-old kid named Yankee Irving whose father is a janitor for Yankee Stadium in 1932. Yankee (voiced by Jake T. Austin) has all of the heart in the world, but none of the baseball skills he desires. This makes him the laughing stock of the sand lot. His father, Stanley (voiced by Mandy Painkin) encourages him with the phrase, "Never quit swinging". His charming mother, Emily (voiced by Dana Reever and Amanda Parsons) also encourages her son. On one day during the World Series of 1932: Yankees vs. Cubs, Yankee Irving is demolished and humiliated during a sand lot game by the bigger kids. Demoralized, he hangs around the lot after the game and practices his swing. Ultimately, he finds a 'magic' talking baseball (voiced by Rob Reiner) under an abandoned car. It's not clear if this baseball is enchanted or if Yankee is imagining the talking, or if all baseballs can talk to him when he listens. The baseball, which Yankee names "Screwie" because, I guess, the talking baseball never had a name before, does everything he can to get Yankee to give up on his dreams of playing baseball.

"…such an outstanding voice cast, it's just too bad that the story and what they had to say weren't more satisfying."
Meanwhile, on a visit to the stadium to bring his father dinner, Yankee is left alone in the Yankee Locker Room with Babe Ruth's prized bat "Darlin'". Moments later, a pitcher from the Chicago Cubs named Lefty Maginnis (voiced by William H. Macy) sneaks in, pretends to be a security guard, kicks Yankee out, and steals the Babe's special bat. Having been the last one there, the General Manager of the Yankees blames Mr. Irving and fires him from his job. Yankee tries to convince the grown ups that he didn't steal the bat, but that a security guard did to no avail. After all, grown ups never listen to kids. Well, this sends Yankee on a very long voyage of his own will and wit to track down Darlin'–whom, when he finds, she is also enchanted and can talk to him (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) but be heard by no one else—get to Chicago to get the bat back in the hands of the Babe, and get his father's job back. Along the way, he encounters a feisty little girl named Marti Brewster (voiced by Raven-Symone), daughter of Negro League super star, Lonnie Brewster (voiced by Forest Whitaker), and her mother, Rosetta (voiced by Cherise Boothe) who all help him get to Chicago. Lonnie Brewster's team's bus actually serves as his transport from Toledo, OH to Chicago. Along the way, he gets hitting tips from Marti and Lonnie that totally transform his baseball ability. Good thing, because he'll need them for the final climatic scene where he helps the Yankees beat the Cubs with the full support of Babe Ruth (voiced by Brian Dennehy). Now, the other villain in the story is the owner of the Chicago Cubs. He's a devious little man by the name of Napoleon Cross (voiced by a surprise guest—he's pretty easy to identify and some clues are given in this review). He orders Lefty to steal Babe's bat if he ever wants to pitch for the Cubs again.

The story is good but not great. Yankee spends a lot of time wandering the hillsides trying to get to Chicago. It's not clear how he knows which way to go or how it would be possible for a 10 year-old boy to make it most of the way from NYC to Toledo, OH on foot in two with little food and water. His parents are distraught as they don't know where he is, and start looking for him sort of late in the game. Yet, they some how manage to get to Chicago just in time to see him save the day. If you are a Chicago Cubs fan, you may not appreciate the "Cubs as villain" angle. If you are a New York Yankees fan, you may think its great fun to see this animated version of the Babe, he is pretty cool. The main message of the film for kids seems to be about not giving up, but I always worry about role models that do things, like go off on some mission to return a bat to a baseball player a 1000 miles away on foot, that are depicted in a very plausible way. Kids cannot really travel to Narnia by going through a wardrobe, but they certainly could get the idea from seeing this movie that they could just take their back pack and head off to return their autographed baseball to Derek Jeter. So, I would like to see a more responsible approach to the fantasy aspects of animated films pitched (no pun intended) at children. There were also some huge dialog problems with many of the characters using words in ways they were not used in the 1930s.

I don't mean to be too hard on this film, however, the bar has been raised so high this year, that we can no longer forgive films and say, "Ah, they're just for kids, what does it matter?" Kids are just as worthy of the highest levels of quality as adults, if not more. With such an outstanding voice cast, it's just too bad that the story and what they had to say weren't more satisfying.

Related Products from Amazon.com
Other Projects Featuring Everyone's Hero (2006) Voice Cast Members
Jake T. AustinCherise BootheBrian Dennehy
Whoopi GoldbergWilliam H. MacyMandy Patinkin
Dana ReeveRob ReinerRaven-Symone
Robert WagnerForest WhitakerSurprise Guest
Other Projects Featuring Everyone's Hero (2006) Director
Christopher Reeve
CD Soundtrack
Related Book
Related Book
Related Book

Everyone's Hero (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
coming soon

No comments: