If you ever want to get a nice big emotional lump in your throat, just go ahead and watch any movie about a dog. An inspiring dog, preferably, although I sort of think all dogs are inspiring on some level. If you really want to bawl your eyes out over the innate goodness of the human-dog bond, watch the trailer for Togo, coming out on Disney+ on Dec. 20. Not only is it a beautiful looking film, it will also look pretty familiar to fans of a certain nostalgic animated film from the 90s.
Togo is an old husky dog living in Alaska; he's called into action to lead a team of sled dogs one last time by his human, played by Willem Defoe. He needs to lead them through a massive snow storm to retrieve medicine for children suffering from a diptheria outbreak. Yes, this is a perfect storm for a river of tears. And yes, this story will sound incredibly familiar to fans of the 1995 animated film Balto, where a dog who was half wolf (voiced by Kevin Bacon) travels through a terrible storm to get medicine for his sick human child pal, Rosie. This story needs to be told as often as possible because it's just that beautiful.
Both Togo and Balto actually existed in the early part of the 20th century in Alaska. Both dogs appeared to be instrumental in retrieving medicine for the sick children of Nome, Alaska in 1925. In the case of Togo, the canine star of the new Disney+ live-action movie, he was a 12-year-old dog by the time he was called into action one last time. But he managed to persevere, and this message alone is enough to make Togo the kind of PG-rated movie parents and kids will actually want to sit down and watch together.
Walt Disney Studios seem to be reviving a type of movie that so many parents will be happy to see come back through the Disney+ streaming service; movies the whole family can watch. Movies like Togo feel like a bit of a throwback not simply because of its connection to a 90s favorite like Balto, but also because of its universal appeal.
After all, who doesn't want to curl up the sofa and watch a movie about a dog rescuing sick children by fetching their medicine through a blizzard against all odds? Sign me up.