|Balto III: Wings of Change|
|Directed By:||Phil Weinstein|
|Produced By:|| Phil Weinstein|
David W. King
|Starring:|| Sean Astin|
|Written By:|| Cliff Ruby|
|Music By:||Adam Berry|
|Distributed By:||Universal Studios Home Entertainment|
|Release Date:||February 1, 2004|
|Running Time:||78 Minutes|
|Prequel:||Balto II: Wolf Quest|
In Summer 1928 Nome, Balto and Jenna's son Kodi (voiced by Sean Astin) works for the US Mail. Kodi loves his job and his new friends and teammates, - Dusty (voiced by Charity James), Kirby (voiced by Carl Weathers) and Ralph (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke). Balto (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is intrigued by the new bi-plane that has arrived in Nome. He wishes to fly, just like the plane. When the kind but challenging bush plane pilot, Duke (voiced by Keith Carradine) offers to take the place of the mail-dogs, Kodi and his friends are worried that they might lose their jobs, which causes them to have a level of resentment against the pilot. Meanwhile, Boris (voiced by Charles Fleischer) falls for a provocative female goose named Stella (voiced by Jean Smart). She asks him to fly with her, but Boris is a low-altitude flyer, saying that he is afraid of heights. Balto makes several unsuccessful attempts to help Boris overcome his fear of heights. Boris waits until the last moment before he eventually lies to her, claiming that he is suffering from numerous injuries that prevent him from flying.
At the post office in Nome, a race is organized between the dog-sled team and the bush plane to see which is faster or more reliable. Kodi naturally wants his father to lead his team as he is the most experienced sled dog in Nome. Balto is not so sure, as he has seen how the bush plane easily outpaces him, but after a little convincing from Jenna (voiced by Jodi Benson) that he doesn't have to be a hero, he accepts the offer. Not long afterwards, Duke discovers Balto exploring his plane. The two become friends, for Duke has heard about how Balto saved the diphtheria-stricken children. The next day, as the race is about to begin, Boris cockily boasts to Balto about how he has deceived Stella into babying him, unaware that she's right behind him. Angered by Boris' lies, she chases him into one of the mail bags, which is then hoisted in to the plane's cargo hold. When the race begins, the destination for both the dogsled and the bush plane is to the town of White Mountain and back. At first, the plane almost easily overtakes the dogs. But on the way back, the plane gets lost in thick fog and crashes in the forest. The dog team returns to Nome and wins the race. Kodi is now confident that his job is secure for good, but Balto still doubts it, knowing deep down that they cannot beat the plane every time, much to his son's dismay.
Two or Three days later, when the plane still hasn't arrived yet, Balto suspects that something has gone wrong. He asks the team to set out with him to rescue Duke, but Kodi and his teammates refuse to help, saying that Duke is their mortal enemy because he tried to take away their jobs. It may be also that the dogs fear that if Duke is rescued, he may ask for a rematch and beat them in a second race. After Balto leaves, Jenna is surprised and angry that Kodi had not gone with him to help — that he valued his job over a human life. She scolds him, and Kodi realizes that it is his ethical duty to help his father. On the way, Balto meets up with Stella, who says that Boris was on the plane too. Stella is still angry with Boris for lying to her, but realizes that she is missing Boris, and admits that she was the one who chased him into the mailbag and onto the plane. With the help of Stella, and the polar bears Muk and Luk (voiced by Kevin Schon), Balto eventually locates the plane crash site, but not before encountering two angry bull moose (both voiced by Maurice LaMarche), though they manage to escape the animals in a close call. Boris is quickly found, but is delirious from the crash impact. Stella and the polar bears take Boris home to look after him. Balto stays behind, finding and awakening an unconscious Duke (whose left leg is broken), and tries to haul him back to Nome on a sheet of metal salvaged from the plane wreck.
On the way back, however, an ice bridge that Balto is crossing breaks under his feet. Balto and Duke are about to fall into the canyon, but Kodi and his friends arrive just in time to rescue them both. Balto and the dogs bring Duke back to Nome and he and his team are once again praised as heroes. Stella eventually forgives Boris when he tells her the truth that he hates heights, and Duke builds a new bi-plane he calls the "Balto Flyer" which Balto happily flies in with Duke.
Main article: List of characters in Balto
- Maurice LaMarche - Balto, Moose #1, Moose #2
- Sean Astin - Kodi
- Jodi Benson - Jenna
- Charles Fleischer - Boris, White Mountain Postmaster
- Keith Carradine - Duke
- Kevin Schon - Muk & Luk, Simpson
- Jean Smart - Stella
- Bill Fagerbakke - Ralph, Mr. Conner
- Charity James - Dusty
- Kathy Najimy - Dipsy
- Paymer - Mel
- Carl Weathers - Kirby
- Phil Weinstein has said that Steele, the antagonist from the first movie, was originally set to appear in Balto 3--in this case, Steele would've been one of the volunteers who would help Balto in his search for Duke.
- While not much else is said about this, this information seems to indicate that Steele may have eventually changed his ways after the events of the first movie.
- The primary events of the film take place during the summer, as Stella stated she is spending the summer vacationing in the area.
- Unlike the first two movies, Balto 3 doesn't have a true "villain." Duke's probably the closest thing the movie has to an antagonist, but even then, he has heroic intentions.
- Ultimately, Duke's just trying to help the people of Alaska and make life a little easier for them by helping to get their mail and stuff faster--it's not like Duke has any idea just how seriously the mail-service dogs (particularly Kodi and his friends) take their job.