Almost 'Everyone's Hero'
By Ryan Pence
September 21, 2006 | Finally the answer to an age-old
question: What did the bat say to the ball?
Well, not a whole lot. They just did a lot of arguing.
I guess the scriptwriters thought it would be funny
to see a bat and a ball argue, highlighted by the title
character, Yankee Irving, being chased by a washed-out
Story. As with most animated films
this one has a very simple plot. The Chicago Cubs owner
wants to win the World Series vs. the New York Yankees,
so he hires washed-out pitcher Lefty Maginnis to steal
Babe Ruth's lucky baseball bat, Darlin'. On the night
Lefty steals the bat, Yankee Irving drops off dinner
for his dad, eventually his dad lets him into the Yankees'
locker room, and Yankee sees for the first time Babe
Ruth's bat. Yankee's dad then leaves to lock up the
stadium. When this happens a disguised Lefty steals
the bat. So of course the Yankees' General Managers
fire Yankee Irving's dad because they suspected him.
But Yankee blames himself and runs away to find the
bat and travel all the way to Chicago to return it to
Characters. The main characters are
Darlin', a self-centered egotistical baseball bat; Screwie,
a baseball that wants to spend the rest of his existence
decomposing under a rusting car in a neighborhood sandlot;
Yankee Irving, a kid who loves baseball but is not very
good at it, and somehow finds a way to blame himself
for his dad losing his job and decides to find a stolen
baseball bat and travel on foot to Chicago. Finally
there's Lefty Maginnis, the stooge of the group. He
is the unfortunate bad guy hired to steal the bat, who
then loses it and and tries to get it back from the
kid, Yankee. All of the physical humor comes from Lefty's
Music. The soundtrack has been said
to make up half the movie. It helps set the mood and
aids in the storytelling. I'm not sure what happened,
maybe someone was absent at one or two production meetings;
maybe someone liked a song too much and couldn't let
it go. The point is, the soundtrack was horrible, the
mood was altered in the wrong way, and I even found
myself at times cringing and looking around the theatre
to see if I was the only one offended by this. Apparently
I was; there was no one else in the theatre. I guess
they all left during the first ill-placed piano solo
10 minutes into the film. The point is the music, songs
-- whatever they were just distracting. They may have
belonged in a film, but not this one.
Bottom Line. The problems that this
movie faced are fairly easy ones to solve: write engaging
dialog, tie the title someway into the film, have the
soundtrack fit the mood or at least let it fit somewhere
in the movie. I believe that if Christopher Reeve, the
director, hadn't died before finishing the project the
movie would most likely have turned out a little bit
better than it had. I recommend not seeing this movie,
but if you to do it at around 1 a.m. when you're sure
to find at least one scene funny.
Ryan's Movie Picks. As computer-animated
movies go, here are some real winners.
Toy Story 2. The crème de
le crème of computer animated movies -- surprisingly
better than the original. Toy Story 2 adds
depths to the original movie by adding a more engaging
plot. Woody a toy cowboy is stolen by toy collector
Al. After that, Buzz Lightyear and a legion of popular
toy figures embark on a mission to save Woody. The movie
is creative and humorous fun for all ages.
Shrek 2. Mike Meyers and
Eddie Murphy reprise their roles as Shrek and Donkey
in this uproarious comedy about an ogre, Shrek, meeting
the parents of his wife, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), in the
land of Far Far Away. Things start getting good when
Fiona's dad hires Puss 'n' Boots (Antonio Banderas)
to kill Shrek, but fails. There are a lot of laughs
in this one, with plenty of references to pop culture
at every turn.
Ice Age. A woolly mammoth,
sloth and saber-tooth tiger make up and unusual herd
of animals on a mission to return a human baby to its
family. In their travels, they have various encounters
with danger, not to mention a scene with dodo birds.
This movie is fun, comical and uplifting.