An Animated Strike Out

An Animated Strike Out

Film Reveiw

There's nothing like the sound of children's laughter; or, for that matter, the sound of children not laughing, at all. "Everyone's Hero" brings forth much of the latter and almost none of the former. In fact, in a theater full of children there was silence.

That's right, silence.

"Everyone's Hero" is so devoid of interest that not even a 5-year-old found it funny. The one sitting next to me was so disinterested that he didn't even laugh when the bad guy got hit in the groin. I thought men of all ages had to laugh when that happens — but no, nothing.

Normally it might be disappointing to see so many great character and voice actors in such a flop, but it seems that all CGI films have an ensemble cast of these kinds of actors: from classics like "Finding Nemo" to the much lesser "Barnyard." There's just no difference between the famous actors voicing one cartoon or the famous actors voicing another, especially since most people don't know who's who until the credits roll.

Don't misunderstand me: I love having the likes of William H. Macy and Robert Wagner voicing even the most minuscule characters. But it's very clear by now that vocal talent isn't enough to make an animated movie great. (Do you know who the voice of the Beast was in "Beauty and the Beast?") A movie's story is its ability to entice any audience, especially children, and "Everyone's Hero" hits an easy pop fly to middle field in that department.

The story is just too random and contrived. The lack of originality is almost depressing. The film's catch phrase/tagline "Always keep swinging" is so blatantly stolen from "Finding Nemo" I half expected the cast to start chanting "Just keep swinging, just keep swinging," over and over.

Curiously, the film completely ignores race, racism and segregation and yet focuses strongly on a Negro league player for one part, a black family in another and the friendship between a little black girl and a white boy from New York City — all during a time period when racial issues were coming to the forefront. Sure, this is a children's film, but complete denial of the situation is just ignorant. I so wanted Yankee Irving, our intrepid boy hero, to ask Lonnie Brewster, the Negro league baseball player who is helping him out, why he wasn't playing ball with Babe Ruth when he was just as good if not better than many of the white ball players.

The film is in more denial than a modern day baseball star at a congressional hearing. Ignoring racism, logic, the fact that there are actually Chicago Cubs fans in the world, and, in the end, the rules of baseball itself. It starts to seem like the film just doesn't like itself very much.

Just like your kids won't like you very much for dragging them out to "Everyone's Hero."