Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A little gem of a film
on 31 July 2008
With a glut of CGI films out there, each with great animation and all-star casts, films have to have something extra that sets them apart from the rest. Having spent a very pleasant 80 minutes or so watching this film, with my two children aged 10 and 7, I would say that it does have something special. First of all, the film looks different as it is set in the 1930's during the depression, when money was scarse and jobs were even harder to come by.
The central character is Yankee Irving, a likeable and loved little boy whose sadness is that, although named after the famous New York Yankees Baseball Team and a big fan of the team and it's star player Babe Ruth, he can't play the game for toffee. This leaves him open to ridicule by his peers. However, after one such humiliating game, he finds a baseball which had been in a sand box since being knocked out of the nearby Yankee stadium. The ball surprises Yankee by being able to talk to him and he finds that he and the ball have something in common. Failure. The ball was only pitched once, a foul ball. Yankee's father has a job at the Yankee stadium and to cheer him up, shows his son Babe Ruth's famous bat which the star has nick-named Darlin'.
However, the owner of a rival team, the Chicago Cubs has sent one of his 'squad' players (Lefty McGuinness) to steal the bat in an attempt to scupper the New York Yankees chances in the World Series. The successful theft leaves Yankee's father without a job and Yankee decides to attempt to recover his hero's bat and deliver it to his Dad in order that he can get reinstated. This plan changes when Yankee recovers the bat and decides to deliver it to Babe Ruth himself in Chicago, so that he can win the series for the Yankees.
A fantastic chase then ensues, and the bat (which can also talk to Yankee and is voiced by the versatile Whoopi Goldberg) is lost and retrieved several more times until the film comes to a satisfactory (if unbelievably sugary) conclusion. The cast are excellent, the animation exquisite and the authentic music adds an upbeat taste of the 1930's. This is not a film about the depression, but rather a film about life and it's simple pleasures. I loved the scene where Yankee is getting a lift to Chicago on the team bus of the Cincinnati Tigers, who are teaching him (and his ball) how to play the game, how to stand at the plate and how to keep his eye on the ball. Despite being big stars, the players treat Yankee as an equal and have time for him and his problems. This film may appeal even more to people who love or understand the game of Baseball, but I think it's themes of determination, loyalty and friendship are universal. Definately recommended family viewing this summer holiday.