Simon Wells Balto

‘Balto’ Trilogy Coming To Netflix February 1: ‘Balto’ Director Simon Wells Discussed Original Film And Its Follow-Up Sequels

Balto is coming to Netflix in February and bringing the entire trilogy along for the ride.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the entire Balto franchise will be available for streaming on Netflix starting February 1.

In an interview with AnimationSource.org, Simon Wells – the director of the first Balto film – had a chance to reflect on the 1995 animated adventure film that was loosely based on the life-saving heroic dog from the mid-1920s.

Perhaps one of the most surprising responses from the interview came after Wells was asked whether or not he had any thoughts on the film’s two follow-up sequels – the 2002 film Balto II: Wolf Quest and the 2004 film Balto III: Wings of Change. Surprisingly, Wells apparently did not have any thoughts about either film to share during the interview since he admitted to never watching those movies in the first place.

“I haven’t seen [the sequels.] I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t. I think perhaps the original movie was close to my heart and I didn’t want to see what other people had done afterwards.”

Wells further stated that his daughters were big fans of the franchise’s second film – Balto II: Wolf Quest and “enjoyed it a great deal.” However, it was clear that Simon had a strong connection with the first Balto movie – the film that set the stage for the franchise and brought the story of the dog on which it was loosely based back into the limelight.

In comparison to other animated movies being developed by Disney in the mid-1990s, Balto was essentially (for lack of a better word) an “underdog” – especially considering the amount of money that was spent to make the movie.

“It was made for a fairly modest budget – less than a third of what Disney was spending on animated movies at the time… The crew put an enormous amount of care and attention into spending what money we did have as wisely as possible. Overall, it felt like everyone on the movie was putting their best efforts into it.”

When asked about which scene from Balto he found the most challenging to work on overall, Simon Wells admitted that it was difficult to identify specifically since so much time had passed since the movie was first released. He referred to the snow in the movie was “surprisingly easier” to create than they expected since they used a CG particle animation system that got the job done. The most challenging task that he did remember from making Balto, however, was creating a “lush-looking movie” with such a relatively tight budget.

“We calculated that we could only have a limited amount of visual effects work in the picture, and so we would have to make hard choices between footprints or shadows, for instance. We couldn’t afford to do both in most shots. We spent a lot of time figuring out what we could get away with leaving out.”

Box Office Mojo reports that Balto generated over $11.3 million – bringing in more than $1.5 million during its opening weekend in December 1995. The film brought a substantial amount of star power to its voice cast as well. The titular character was voiced by none other than Kevin Bacon. Bacon’s performance was further complemented by such costars as Bridget Fonda, Phil Collins, and the late Bob Hoskins. Award-winning composer James Horner took care of the film’s musical score, using his instrumental expertise to tug at the heartstrings of anyone who watches the film regardless of age.

Fans will be able to share the Balto trilogy with a much younger generation of fans when the movies are made available for streaming on Netflix throughout the month of February.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

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