Following a few summer months of mediocre high-tech cartoons in theaters, Everyone's Hero is debuting in the typically un-family friendly movie month of September. That's unfortunate because this film is an unexpected shining light in the animation arena, which has been shifting from quality to quantity over the past couple of years.
Originally helmed by Christopher Reeve, whose untimely passing required other directors to take over the production, this little-movie-that-could features a young boy named Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin) who is crazy about -- you guessed it -- the New York Yankees. It's 1932, and the fabled team is playing in the World Series, so the young boy's interest is at a record peak.
Even more exciting, his father (Mandy Patinkin) works at Yankee Stadium, and gives his son a chance to glimpse Babe Ruth's treasured bat, affectionately named Darlin' (and voiced by Whoopi Goldberg). But that peek turns into a big problem when the bat goes missing the next day. With both his father's job and the Yankee's chance of winning the series on the line, the young lad decides to take matters into his own hands and find the lost bat.
Thankfully, he has the good fortune of meeting a talking baseball named Screwie (Rob Reiner), who is more than willing to pitch him advice and cautious directions. He will need both after meeting up with Lefty Maginnis (William H. Macy), a pitcher for the rival Chicago Cubs who has been sent by his manager to keep the bat out of the Great Bambino's hands.
What makes this rather contrived and predictable story so enchanting to watch is the beautiful visuals filling the screen. Depression-era New York and the surrounding countryside are rendered in a fashion and color pallet so compelling that the movie looks like something you should hang on a wall. Equally engaging is the action -- especially a sequence involving characters jumping from one train to another.
This railway sequence is one of a few moments of mild-to-moderate peril contained within the film. Otherwise, subtle lessons about cooperation, loyalty, and loving parents add to the enjoyable animation style, making Everyone's Hero a homerun.