*MOVIE RECAP: TOGO

First of all, I am surprised Disney did not release this movie out in theaters back in December of 2019 or early 2020 and opted instead for a direct to streaming release. I think Togo would have provided excellent competition against CALL OF THE WILD (FOX), which came out in theaters in early 2020, and it was not well received and performed somewhat poorly at the box office.

Some of these direct-to-streaming movies don’t usually get much attention, mostly because people are quick to assume that the quality of those films is not as good as theatrical releases.

However, I enjoyed TOGO more than I expected; I thought it was a fun movie.

I always thought BALTO was the hero of the world-famous “Serum Run” of Nome, Alaska, in 1925. I thought Balto completed the run covering over 600 miles of treacherous, snow-covered terrain while transporting antitoxins desperately needed to combat a diphtheria outbreak.

Man, was I wrong… Balto wasn’t the hero I was led to believe. It was TOGO all along.

The 1995 BALTO movie completely misrepresented the real story of the Serum Run and wrongly established Balto as the lead sled dog throughout the entire run, which was actually a relay run. Balto only completed the final 55-mile leg of the relay. A remarkable achievement, indeed, but erroneously glorified by Hollywood. In reality, TOGO was the lead dog who accomplished the majority of the incredible feat—covering 264 miles.

This TOGO movie would have looked gorgeous on the big screen, considering all the magnificent visuals, the terrain, the snow, the mountains, the ice lakes — they are all perfect and tailor-made for a theatrical experience.

The accuracy of the real Serum Run story is impressive. Minor details of the real story are highlighted and covered pretty accurately, with just a few exceptions here and there, so kudos to director Ericson Core and screenwriter Tom Flynn. The relationship between Togo and his trainer, Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe), is emotionally moving. Dafoe’s acting keeps things interesting, especially while delivering monologues in multiple solo scenes.

TOGO is not so much a retelling of the famous Serum Run of 1925 but an attempt to revisit a legendary real-life story. This is a hero’s journey that continues to amaze and inspire.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

Streaming on DISNEY+

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