Showing posts with label Disney movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney movies. Show all posts

Friday, February 14, 2020

Togo (2019) Movie Review

Togo (2019) Movie Review
Soundtrack Image/Link
Are you familiar with the name "Togo"?  What about "Balto"?  Does that name ring a bell?  What do you really know about these two dogs.  

I readily admit, I was surprised by the real facts when I recently watched the Disney movie, Togo, which prompted me to research the true history.  My previous knowledge of the legendary serum run to Nome was clearly very limited and had been shaped around the stories of Balto.  Imagine how shocked I was to learn the truth.

Since I love dogs, I am often drawn to movies about dogs, especially when they also feature a favorite actor like Willem Dafoe. When I saw the awesome dvd cover for the movie Togo, I was immediately drawn in and had to watch the movie.  The dvd picture is only the introduction to Togo and Leonhard Seppala.  Just look at that dog!  Isn't he gorgeous!!!  The real Togo was every bit as beautiful as the dog in the movie.  After hearing his story, all I could think was, who wouldn't want that fabulous pup!

One note of warning, ladies get out the tissues!  This is a real tearjerker that even guys will watch with you. Actually, come to think of it, bring extra tissues for them.


Togo The Lead Sled Dog of Leonhard
RDShahriar [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]



Togo (2019) - Disney Movie Synopsis


The movie is based on the true story of Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog, Togo.  Unlike many movies, Togo seems to follow the truth closely, if not completely.  It dramatizes the challenges, the sacrifices, and the risks this team took in order to bring a life-saving serum to the children of Nome, Alaska, as well as gives us a factual account of the real Togo's life. 

Togo was the runt of the litter and expected to die.  Leonhard Seppala thought it would be kinder to put the pup down, but his wife did not agree.  She personally nursed the puppy to health and Togo repaid them with a deep love and devotion that only a dog can give. 
 
Leonhard Seppala was a renowned expert musher and trainer of working sled dogs.  Due to his small size and health issues, Seppala was certain Togo could not be useful.  He actually gave him away twice, but both times Togo was returned, or made his own way back home.
 
Togo was determined to be with Leonhard whether he wanted him or not.  Much to Seppala's surprise, the other dogs were willing to be lead by Togo, even into mischief and against their masters commands.  When Seppala relented and tried Togo as the lead sled dog, they were both rewarded with a win-win compromise.  


Size didn't matter to Togo.  He had the heart and spirit of a born leader.  

In 1925, when Togo was a mature 12 year old dog, the town was hit with a diphtheria epidemic. The children of Nome, Alaska desperately needed medicine.  Due to the weather, an airplane was not an option and the train from Anchorage only went as far as Nenana, Alaska.  The city council asked Leonhard Seppala to make the trip to Nenana to pick up the serum.  

Now, think about that for just a minute!  Over 650 miles round trip, in −30 °F weather with a wind chill of −85 °F and white out storms that no man could possibly see in, on a dog pulled sled.  Only an animal with a fantastic ability to navigate a blizzard could survive.  At 12 years old, the trip alone would most likely kill Togo, but Seppala knew he was their only chance of getting through to Nenana.  No other dog in his kennel possessed the drive and ability needed in such an intense storm.  But could Seppala knowingly sacrifice his beloved Togo to save the lives of the children and adults in Nome? 

Leonhard Seppala, with Togo in the lead of his dog sled team, set out for Nenana.  While in route, the city council set up a relay to intercept Seppala and shorten the length of time it would take to get the medicine back to Nome.  


The Facts about Balto & Togo


Balto was hailed as the hero because he was the reported lead dog that brought the serum into the city of Nome.  In the end, over 20 men (mushers) and 100 dogs were involved in the relay.  Most, including Balto, ran approximately 30 miles of the trek, but they all deserve credit for their part in the mission.  

Leonhard Seppala & his winning dogsled team
during 9th_All-Alaska Sweepstakes dogsled race

University of Washington [Public domain]
Ironically, Balto was also owned and trained by Leonhard Seppala.  Seppala's wife allowed another musher, Gunnar Kaasen, to borrow Balto for the relay.    

Togo and Seppala, along with the rest of their dog team, ran 260 hard miles.  They were the team that crossed the dangerous iced-over Norton Sound and endured 3 days of blizzard weather. The team survived due to Togo's exceptional ability to navigate to safety in a ground blizzard.  If not for Togo, his dog team, Leonhard Seppala, and the serum would have been lost and dead.

Even though they passed the serum off for the last miles into Nome, I think it is clear who deserved the credit for getting the lifesaving serum to Nome.

You can watch the factually accurate movie yourself to see if you agree. 

One note of interest that the movie did not include, is that Seppala had an 8 year old daughter at the time of the serum run.  I have no desire to take away from Seppala, but as a parent myself, I suspect the fact that he had a child affected his decision to make the run for their lives and to use Togo as his lead in spite of the dogs advanced age.  After all, he had the option to use Balto himself.

At the time of publishing this review, Togo is only available for viewing on the Disney+ subscription channel.  No DVD release date has been announced.

The phenomenal music from the movie is available for purchase and downloading. 




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Togo (2019) Movie Review Written by:
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Friday, November 2, 2018

Disney Zootopia Movie Review

Disney Zootopia Movie Review
Disney Zootopia is a really cute animated movie that features all animals.  As you can see in the photo on the right, the main characters are Judy Hopps, a rabbit, and Nick Wilde, a fox.  In addition to Judy and Nick, there were several other animal characters in this movie that I loved.

I really like the story line and the message that "you can be anything you wanna be".   The movie doesn't make light of the reality though that it often takes hard work and real commitment to achieve your goals.  It also touches on how preconceived opinions or past experiences can influence your thoughts when you first meet someone.  I really liked the way each character faced and dealt with their prejudices and negative attitudes to overcome them.

The characters are adorable and the animation is fantastic!  I also enjoyed the music.  Overall, it was a great way to spend 108 minutes.

The DVD cover quotes Germain Lussier, "The Best Film Disney Animation Has Made in 20 Years", and I would agree.


The Plot of Zootopia


 Zootopia (Plus Bonus Features)Check PriceJudy Hopps, the leading bunny, wants to be a police officer when she grows up.  That is not really a job most would believe is appropriate for a  bunny rabbit.  Even her parents try to dissuade Judy.  However, Judy is determined.  After she gets through the police academy, she is sent to Zootopia, which is appropriately named.  It is an animal utopia.  Predators and prey coexist without the natural desires to hunt or the natural fear of being the prey.

Judy finds herself surrounded by fabulous large beasts who are her fellow police officers.  On her first day, assignments are handed out.  There are a dozen missing animals that don't seem to have any obvious commonalities.  However, Judy is not assigned to find any of the missing animals.  She is assigned to parking duty to hand out tickets.  It seems like a safe place for a bunny officer.  Of course, that assignment does not make Judy happy at all.  However, she strives to make the best of it.

While writing parking tickets on her very first day, Judy sees a fox (Nick) and his "child" enter an ice cream shop owned by an elephant.  Nick wishes to buy a treat for his "son", but the owner refuses to serve a fox.  That is, until Judy comes to their defense.  Later that day, she finds that she was duped by the sly fox.  However, it turns out that the fox is just who she needs to help her find Mr. Otterton.  

As you have probably already guessed, Mr. Otterton is an otter that is missing, but he isn't one of the individuals the police are most worried about finding.  But, Judy willingly takes the case!  And that is when the real action begins.


My Recommendation of Zootopia


As an adult and animal enthusiasts, I really enjoyed the movie.  I especially loved the scene that included the sloths, who work for the DMV.  




The movie is rated PG and for good reason.  I do recommend that parents watch the movie first to determine if it is suitable for your own children.  Most notably, there are a few crude words that a parent may not want their very young children hearing and definitely not repeating.  Otherwise, I would say Zootopia is a fun movie to watch for both children and adults.






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