Michael Sauter
April 05, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Half dog, half wolf, Balto is a north-country canine outcast — until he delivers a sledload of serum through a snowstorm to thwart a diphtheria epidemic. The sober tone of this cartoon, based on a true story, may explain its disappointing box office. When kids discover it on video, they’ll find a colorfully wintry palette, a Lady and the Tramp-type romance, and comic sidekicks who may be derivatively Disneyesque, but Balto would be snowbound without them.

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