Balto II: Wolf Quest
May 8, 2019
(The Channel Awesome logo and the title sequence play)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. We all remember the true story of Balto– (abruptly looks away, snickering and trying not to laugh) I'm sorry, I said "true story" and "Balto" in the same sentence! But to be fair, it is about as authentic as the true story of Bohemian Rhapsody– (looks away, snickering some more)
(Footage of Balto is shown)
NC (vo): While Balto was not a box office darling in the least, lasting only three weekends and making back only a third of its budget, it did find a decent life on television and VHS/DVD. So, it only figured to make a sequel.
(A picture of Balto appears next to NC, moving its mouth and eyes. The character is voiced by Doug)
Balto: A cinematic sequel?
NC: Whoa, whoa, whoa! This is the early 2000s, ("Balto'"s smile goes down) and you know what they do with hand-drawn animated sequels in the early 2000s.
Balto: Straight to DVD?...
NC: Correct! And you know how good those always are, right? ("Balto" starts leaving NC slowly) Right?! (A gunshot is heard, to NC's astonishment) Wow, I've never seen a dog put himself down before.
(The title for Balto II: Wolf Quest is shown, followed by its clips)
NC (vo): Balto II: Wolf Quest...
NC: Again, (nods, smiling) totally a true story...
NC (vo): ...is the follow-up to Balto made a mere seven years later, released once again by Universal. As as usual, with straight-to-DVD releases, the animation isn't as good as the original, but where Balto II lacks in its visual elements, it... really lacks in its storytelling elements. Which, okay, is kinda to be expected of these DVD releases, but does it in any way hold a candle to its imperfect, yet still entertaining predecessor?
NC: (as a poster for Balto III: Wings of Change appears) Well, they made a third one, so... (throws arms out, grinning) Who cares?! Money! (To a cash register sound effect, the Photoshopped dollar bills start falling down) This is Balto II.
(The title "Wolf Quest" is shown in a cloudy sky, made with ice)
NC (vo): From the font, I'm already expecting to see (The end shot of the intro for Wolf's Rain is shown) four canines to chase after a flower...
NC: ...That concept's surprisingly more interesting that it sounds.
(The film opens with the main character, Balto, chasing a crow on a thin ice that is breaking as he runs. Balto encounters a pack of wolves with glowing eyes)
NC (vo): We see Balto literally on thin ice, as he follows a bird to a giant ice wall. The ice breaks, though, as he sees other wolves in the distance.
(During this scene, the background score by Adam Berry is the inuit chanting followed by a crow's cawing. This is repeated again)
NC: What is this, the score by Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman?
(The scene is replayed, but the crow's cawing is replaced by clips of Frank Slade (Pacino) from 1992's Scent of a Woman saying "Hoo-ah!". It is revealed that this was a dream Balto was seeing, and he's awakened by Boris splashing water on him)
Boris: You were having dream again.
NC (vo): It turns out it's just a dream, as Boris played this time by Charles Fleischer instead of Bob Hoskins...
NC (vo): ...wakes up Balto, played this time by Maurice LaMarche instead of Kevin Bacon. (scoffs) Yeah. Like he's known for doing impressions at all.
Balto: It's just a dream.
Boris: (gets closer to Balto) I'm telling you, boychik, if you keep having same dream again and again, it means something!
NC: (as Boris) For instance, I have dream Aflac duck will kill me! (points to his right eye) I still sleep with one eye open every night! (He suddenly hears a voice whispering "Aflac..." and looks above nervously)
(It is shown that Balto is living in an abandoned ship)
NC (vo): Apparently, being a hero dog isn't as rewarding as one would think, as they spend the night in a shipwrecked boat. Yeah, everything went to shit (The Photoshopped box image for Wheaties is shown with the husky Togo on it) after Togo protested he should be on the Wheaty box.
(Wandering around, Balto and Boris see a totem pole with several animal faces carved on it)
Boris: Look! A totem pole!
NC (vo): They come across a totem pole that apparently has the same animals Balto saw in his dream.
Balto: They're just wood carvings, Boris.
Boris: Humans use them to tell stories. But of what, I don't know.
NC: (as Balto) Ah, what animated direct-to-DVD movies were back then.
(In the outskirts of Nome, a small terrier is shown running to the camera (actually, to Balto and Boris), barking wildly)
NC: (as Balto) I've only just met you, and you convinced me. Dog genocide is a good idea.
(Balto enter a building and sees with surprise that Jenna, with whom he got closer before, has given birth to a six puppies, one of them having the hair similar to Balto while the others have Jenna's color)
NC (vo): Jack-Two-Point-Blow tells him that Jenna has just given birth. She's played this time by Jodi Benson instead of Bridget Fonda.
Balto: Oh, Jenna. They're so beautiful. Just like you.
NC: (as Balto) I mean...beautiful enough to be here when they're born, but understand, I had a nap!
(The terrier bursts into the bulding, still barking wildly, but Boris kicks him away)
NC: (hand on cheek) You can tell an animator really liked drawing that.
(The scene is replayed. After eight weeks pass, we're shown Balto having nightmares again, and them to him at morning seeing his puppies playing with Jenna)
NC (vo): The pups get older, as Balto continues to be, apparently, a real deadbeat dad!
Jenna: Good morning, sleepyhead. Did you forget about watching the pups today while my girl and I go on a picnic?
NC: (as Balto) I don't think you understand just how important these naps are. They prepare me for my daily slumber.
NC (vo): Balto finds himself bummed out, knowing that soon they'll be up for adoption, they'll have to find new homes.
Balto: Tomorrow we can all go on a picnic.
Jenna: Balto, don't you remember? Tomorrow is the day for our pups to find their new homes.
Balto: I don't think I can let them go, Jenna. Not yet.
NC: (as Balto) I have so much more of their lives to sleep through.
(Cut back to the town, we're shown a store named "J. Watts", but the letter "J" looks a little bit similar to the other letter)
NC (vo): Eh, that "J" a little too much like a "T" for my comfort...actually, what do they sell there? (Two vector images of women in skimpy clothing are shown)
('Balto eventually decides to have his pups adopted by other people, so he puts them in a crate)
Boy: I like this one. (takes one of the pups)
NC (vo): Balto and Jenna are concerned, though, that one of the pups named Aleu, voiced by Lacey Chabert, looks more wolf than dog, decreasing her chances of getting adopted.
(Aleu, the one that is more alike Balto, is the only one left in the crate. The shot zooms in to "Fragile" on a crate)
NC (vo): Too subtle!
Balto: Aleu looks more like a wolf than me. No human is ever gonna want her.
Jenna: We'll just have to keep trying.
NC: (as Jenna) Right here, on Toontown Road.
(The houses in the shown shot are leaning a bit too much)
NC (vo): Seriously, what is up with that angle? So she never gets adopted...well, screw that shit! She's so cute, you could say she's a vampire shark, and she'll still get adopted!...as she grows older, trying to make the case that she's not so little anymore.
(A year later, the grown-up Aleu speaks to Boris and the polar bears Muk and Luk)
Boris: How can I babysit if you won't sit?
Aleu: Uncle Boris, since I'm not a baby anymore, I don't need a babysitter. And you can tell that to my father.
NC: (as Aleu, with the clip of Ariel from The Little Mermaid being shown) I heard my mother do this dialogue. I know how the routine goes!
(Walking around the forest, Aleu spots a person standing in the shadows, who is, in fact, a hunter)
NC (vo): She comes across a hunter, though, and...let's just say, gets the wrong idea.
Aleu: No, it's a human. He wouldn't hurt me. Maybe he'll want to adopt me. (happily runs towards the hunter, who clicks his gun)
NC (vo; as Aleu): Hey, what's that? A dog biscuit maker? I'm so stupid!
(Balto charges at the hunter from behind, so the latter shoots in the wrong direction, and tells Aleu to hide)
NC (vo): Balto saves her, as Aleu doesn't understand what just happened.
Aleu: I don't understand, Papa. Why did you attack him? What if he wanted to adopt me?
NC: (as Aleu) That was an adoption bullet that came from its gun, right? Again, really stupid!
(Balto tells Aleu the truth about her wolf heritage, causing her to run away, hoping to find her place in the world)
NC (vo): He tells her about her heritage and how wolf blood flew through both their veins. Aleu runs away, as Balto, being a good parent, chases after her...nah, just kidding, he sleeps again.
(Balto is once again seeing the same nightmare from before)
NC: (massaging forehead in frustration) I want you to stop focusing on being half-wolf and start focusing on being half-parent! Your daughter was almost killed, you jackass!
NC/Balto: (offscreen) Wolf.
NC (vo): Once again, he has a dream, only this time, his mother speaks to him, saying he needs to understand the animals of the totem. Oh, and the movie wants to remind you these two are a thing.
(Muk and Luk awaken Balto, with the first sniffing under Balto's blanket and running away, giggling)
Balto: What are you two doing?
NC: (as Balto) My daughter was almost killed, meaning it's vital I catch up to my 30-hour snooze!
Muk: We're here to play with Aleu.
Balto: (becoming concerned) You mean you can't find her?
Muk: Uh, no. (Luk shakes head no)
NC: Again, I thought you know where she is...dad!
Balto: She's got to be at her mother's. (runs off)
NC (vo; as Balto): She's the parent that actually adults. Maybe she can find her while I nap.
Muk: (sniffling) I know. I wish we had a mum, too. (embraces Luk, and the both sob)
NC: ...Weirdly sad.
(Balto meets with Jenna in the town and tells her about everything)
Balto: She must have run away.
Jenna: Run away?
Balto: I thought I could keep her safe.
Jenna: But she's not safe now. She's running wild! We've got to find her.
NC: (as Balto) Oh, that's what a father does! (laughs) You know, here I thought the answer was...
NC/Jenna: (offscreen) Don't you dare say "napping"!
NC: (as Balto) ..."not napping"! (nods)
(Balto goes out in the Alaskian wilderness in search for Aleu)
NC (vo): Balto sees it as his fault, which...it totally is, so he decides to go after her alone. Good idea. Sending two dogs would give too great an advantage, so just send the lesser of the two parents.
NC: I'm starting to see why Aleu is so dumb.
(Balto begins to follow the raven, recognizing him as the one from his nightmares. The bird disappears in a fog, and after it dissipates, it reveals a female fox on a log, who has her throat tied up by a trap)
NC (vo): He comes across the raven in his dreams, who leads him to a fox, voiced by the late Mary Kay Bergman, caught in a trap.
Fox: Say, I'll help you find your daughter if you'll help me out of this trap.
Balto: (approaching her) How did you know I'm looking for my daughter?
Fox: Do we have a deal, or don't we?
NC: (shifting eyes) I don't like how sexy that fox's voice is. It makes me...you confused.
(Balto releases the fox)
Balto: Now, how can you help me find my daughter?
NC: And more importantly, who puts a trap on a log over rapids?
(Balto is pushed over into a river by a fox, and sees Boris, Muk and Luk. From their location, he sniffs out Aleu's scent and follows the trail. Later, he encounters three black wolves with glowing red eyes circling around him)
NC (vo): She pushes him over, saying the current will take him to where he needs to go. He comes across Boris and the bears, clearly where nobody needs to go, and he tells them to let Jenna know that he's got Aleu's scent and not to worry about him. As you can see, he has everything under control.
Balto: I'm looking for my daughter.
Wolf 1: Tell me, are you afraid?
NC: (as Balto) What, of glowey-eyed, hellspawn, raccoon-badger demons? Very yes!
Wolf 2: You must listen to your fears. Let them lead you back to the safety of your cozy little home.
NC: (as Balto, smiling) Okay. Aleu was found dead, (A picture of a fried turkey is shown with Boris' head edited onto the picture) and they ate Boris.
(Cut to the end credits)
NC (vo): No, he admits he's scared of never seeing his daughter again, and they vanish. Apparently, that was the password. Aleu, meanwhile, tries to find the spot out of the hot sun.
(A crow from before flies over Aleu and lands on a brand next to an entrance to a cave)
Aleu: A cave. At least it'll be dark and cool.
NC: Like what Tim Burton movies used to be.
(Inside a cage, Aleu meets a field mouse named Muru)
NC (vo): She goes inside and finds a bunch of crystals and a singing mouse. As you do.
Muru: I am Muru. This answer tells us what we are, but not who we are.
Aleu: How do I find out who I am?
(Muru makes the sunlight reflect through the crystals, revealing the pictures on the cave walls glowing like constellations)
Muru: I am shedding light where darkness lies.
NC: (as Aleu) Really? Like how? (as Muru) You drink too much coffee, and are on social media too much. (as Aleu) This totally isn't working!
(We go to a commercial)