Everyone’s Hero

Cast:
Jake T. Austin as Yankee Irving (voice)
Rob Reiner as Screwie (voice)
Whoopi Goldberg as Darlin’ (voice)
Cherise Boothe as Rosetta Brewster (voice)
Brian Dennehy as Babe Ruth (voice)
Ed Helms as Hobo Louie (voice)
Richard Kind as Hobo Andy/Maitre (voice)
William H. Macy as Lefty Maginnis (voice)
Marcus Maurice as Willie (voice)
Amanda Parsons as Emily Irving (voice)
Mandy Patinkin as Stanley Irving (voice)
Dana Reeve as Emily Irving (voice)
Raven as Marti Brewster (voice)
Ron Tippe as Hobo Jack (voice)
Joe Torre as Yankees’ Manager (voice)
Robert Wagner as Mr. Robinson (voice)
Forest Whitaker as Lonnie Brewster (voice)
Robin Williams as Napoleon Cross (voice)

Summary:
“Everyone’s Hero” is most notable for being the last project Christopher Reeve worked on. It features a great cast and an interesting setting, but the plot is quite predictable and the ending doesn’t fit the rest of the movie. Kids will still love it.

Story:
In 1932, Yankee Irving is a young New York Yankees fan. Despite loving the sport, none of the other kids want him on their team when they play in the sandlot. Yankee is sad and depressed until he finds a baseball named Screwie that inexplicably talks. However, things turn bad when his father, who happens to work at Yankee Stadium, is fired after Babe Ruth’s baseball bat Darlin’ is stolen during his shift. To make matters worse, Yankee’s father blames him for the disappearance of the bat.

With the Yankee’s World Series run on the line and his father’s job to save, Yankee goes on a quest to recover the bat. Thus ensues a cross country chase as Yankee and Screwie attempt to outrun the thief, a Cub’s pitcher named Lefty, and return Darlin’ to Babe Ruth in time to win the World Series.

“Everyone’s Hero” is rated G.

What Worked:
What surprised me most about “Everyone’s Hero” was the final credits. I went into this movie knowing nothing about the film. I was more than a little surprised to see that Christopher Reeve directed the movie and produced it. His wife Dana Reeve also produced it and was the voice of Yankee’s mom. It turns out this was the project they were working on when he died. The rest of the credits were also a surprise. Some of the voices I could identify immediately like Brian Dennehy, Richard Kind, and William H. Macy. Others like Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Reiner, and Forest Whitaker were a little harder to spot. But strangest of all was the fact that Robin Williams was uncredited in the film. I don’t know why he didn’t want credit considering he and Reeve were friends, but his name is nowhere to be seen in the credits despite having a very distinctive voice. Anyway, it was cool to see so much talent behind what was obviously Christopher Reeve’s dream project.

Besides the great voice cast, “Everyone’s Hero” has some nice animation. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about it, the things I strangely noticed most were the backgrounds. They looked like 2-D paintings thrown into a 3-D world. It was an interesting artistic effect that gave the film a unique look. The action scenes are also particularly well animated. A chase scene that takes place across two trains was quite exciting and well choreographed.

“Everyone’s Hero” is an interesting sports film for kids. I took my 4 ½ year old boy and 7 ½ year old daughter and both of them enjoyed it. I would have thought they’d be bored by a film set in the 1930′s that highlights Babe Ruth, the World Series, the Negro League, and other sports fixtures. Quite the opposite was true. While they haven’t been quoting baseball stats, they have been quoting “My head! My butt” a week later.

What Didn’t Work:
“Everyone’s Hero”‘s biggest problem is that it is utterly predictable. You can guess what’s going to happen with very little effort. It’s even easier to guess the plot if you’ve seen the commercials. Unfortunately, the one unpredictable portion of the story, the ending, also happens to be a major weak point. I can’t discuss it here without getting into spoilers, but it didn’t fit the otherwise realistic yet dreamlike feel of the movie (well, as realistic as a film about a talking ball and bat can be).

“Everyone’s Hero” also attempts to elevate Babe Ruth to sainthood. Not since “Lilo & Stitch” made Elvis into a wholesome childhood hero has a kid’s film so blatantly attempted to rewrite history. This movie deftly sidesteps Ruth’s alcoholism, profanities, and woman chasing and makes him seem like Mister Rogers.

This movie is also set in the 1930′s, yet it relies on modern pop music in the soundtrack. It didn’t really fit the movie well and some period music would have felt a lot more natural. There are a number of other anachronisms in the movie, too.

The Bottom Line:
Kids will enjoy “Everyone’s Hero”. Adults will probably enjoy it, too, but find it forgettable just like many of the other computer animated films this year.

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