Everyone's Hero

on September 15, 2006 by Tim Cogshell
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If you were an animated feature produced in the last few years whose title was not “The Incredibles,” you failed. Neither children nor adults saw you en masse and your DVD sells were not very impressive either. The trail-off seems to have begun somewhere around “Ice Age 2,” and, with the exception of the aforementioned “Incredibles,” has continued through this summer's “The Ant Bully” and “Barnyard,” etc. Now “Everyone's Hero” is up to bat, and expectations may be unfair.

In “Everyone's Hero” a young baseball fan named Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin of “The Ant Bully”) perseveres all manner of peril as he sets off to recover Babe Ruth's stolen bat. (It's a talking bat. The balls and gloves talk, too.) The bat in question was stolen from Yankee Stadium on Yankee Irving's dad's security watch, so recovering it is a way for Yankee to restore is family's honor.

The late Christopher Reeve was at work on “Everyone's Hero” when he passed away in 2004, and, as it happens, his wife Dana did voice work on the movie before she passed on earlier this year. Completed by collaborators Daniel St. Pierre and Colin Brady, the computer-animated film is a family adventure that is plainly intended to speak to the heroism of Reeve, a man who persevered with optimism and hope through years of medical difficulties after his crippling accident. On that account “Everyone's Hero” is a perfectly serviceable bit of family animation--neither overtly saccharine nor overly sanguine. Given the poor performance of studio animation of late, it doesn't have to break records to outperform most of the other animation in release. It is not a classic, but it's good family fair that will be remembered well.

Voices by William H. Macy, Rob Reiner, Brian Dennehy, Raven Symone, Robert Wagner, Richard Kind, Dana Reeve, Jake T. Austin, Joe Torre, Mandy Patinkin, Forest Whitaker and Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Christopher Reeve, Daniel St. Pierre and Colin Brady. Written by Robert Kurtz and Jeff Hand. Produced by Ron Tippe and Igor Khait. A Fox release. Animated family adventure. Rated G. Running time: 88 min

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