There's no denying that Christopher Reeve was an incredible person. While we all know him best as Superman, he also ended up being an influence to people in real life. Despite him being sadly paralyzed for the rest of his life after a horseback accident, he decided to dedicate the remainder of his life by starting a foundation that researched cures for people with spinal cord injuries. His influence and legacy both in movies and in science are incredible which makes me sad to say that his final film he was involved with is sadly not very good. He ended up directing an animated film called "Everyone's Hero" and it didn't work out very well. It's a film that has good intentions but sadly comes across as being very standard and stale and another animated dud from 2006.
A young boy named Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin) dreams of becoming a baseball player. Despite this, he isn't very good at the support and most of his friends don't see him as a good player as well as a talking baseball he found at the sandlot he calls Screwie (Rob Reiner). One day, his father (Mandy Patinkin) takes him to the locker room of Yankees Stadium where he works as a janitor to show Yankee the baseball bat of Babe Ruth to cheer him up and convinces him to keep following his dream. However the next day, his father is fired after the bat gets stolen. Hoping to get his father's job back, Yankee sets off with Screwie to get the bat back and discovers that it was stolen by a Chicago Cubs player named Lefty Mangis (William H. Macy) for his boss Napoleon Cross (Robin Williams) who wants to see the Yankees lose so the Cubs can finally win the World Series. After getting the bat from Lefty, Yankee discovers that the bat named Darlin (Whoopi Goldberg) can also talk and needs to get back to Ruth so the Yankees win the World Series. From there, Yankee sets off for Chicago to reunite Darlin with the Great Bambino while Lefty is hot on his trail trying to get the bat back.
I really feel bad for criticizing this film. As I previously mentioned, this ended up being the last film by Christopher Reeve ever worked on as he passed away before he could see the final film as did his wife Dana who also played Yankee's mother. While I have great respect for Reeve and could see his passion for this film, I have to be honest as a critic and say that the film is not very good. When it comes to the story, it comes off feeling very predictable and stale. As I was watching this film, I could see every single moment in the film coming from a mile away and feel that there were no true surprises to be found. Every scene comes off feeling unimpressive and lacks the grand scale and scope that makes baseball fun and just made me wish I was watching "The Sandlot" instead. Like this film, it also has the fun of baseball and a young boy who learns about what makes it great while also featuring Babe Ruth, but benefits from having funny scenarios and memorable moments which is what this film lacks. The only memorable moment was the climax of the film which without spoiling was too ridiculous for me to take seriously. Not to mention that there are several elements in the film that I feel younger children wouldn't understand. It tries to cover aspects like the Great Depression and but I don't think a kid younger than twelve would really understand what it meant back in the day. I appreciate the filmmakers trying to put in those elements, but I think they probably should've been better explained or not put in the film. As far as the animation goes, it's not very good. The film had its animation provided by Reel FX who has been known to make amazing animation, but they weren't given the proper time to make it great. From what I read, the animators were crunched to animate this film in only a year which isn't a lot of time to make it look as good as they could and it shows. The sets like very average and unimpressive with major cities like Chicago and New York not shining or standing out. Even the old Penn Station, which looked incredible from the photographs I've seen, looked fake and bland. The character designs were also jarring and felt rubbery and plastic look. Though my biggest problem I had is that this film went a little too overboard with some of the cartooney moments. It may seem silly of me to criticize that given how a talking baseball and bat are in this film, but a lot of scenes just felt too silly and out of place. For example, there's a scene where Lefty telephones his boss in the rain, and after the phone call, he's randomly struck by lightning. Moments like that just didn't work and felt too silly. As far as the characters go, none of them also leave an impression. Yankee is a bland child protagonist that we've seen before a million times. He's wide-eyed and has a big dream and gets better at a certain skill by the end of the film. He's nothing we haven't seen before. The antagonists were also very unimpressive as well with Lefty coming off as the stupid sidekick to the main antagonist and Napoleon feeling like a standard cartoon baddie with him being chubby, wearing a white suit, and even having an evil laugh. Not to mention they both have telephone calls with Lefty giving updates about his situation while Napoleon waits impatiently in his office. It's such standard villain tropes. It also amazes me that the Cubs were willing to lend the filmmakers the rights to use their name and logo as the villains. I'd love to see the meeting of how that happened. Then there's Screwie and Darlin and unfortunately, they were the biggest problem I had with the film. Throughout the film, the characters constantly argue at each other and keep talking and talking and they annoyed me very fast. I just wanted them to shut up for at least one scene, but throughout the entire film they just kept arguing and saying annoying stuff and it got under my skin. It also didn't help their comedy was unfunny to boot as well with every joke falling flat and even relying constantly on fart and butt jokes and it just made me roll my eyes. It just wasn't fun.
Unfortunately despite its good intentions, "Everyone's Hero" is not a very good animated film. The story is standard and not unique, the animation is limited and doesn't look very good, and most of the characters are either generic or annoying. I personally can't really recommend this film and only see it being enjoyed by very small children, but even then I think they deserve better films than this. If you want a better way to honor Christopher Reeve, I'd watch the films he was best known for instead. Some of the films he made are home runs. This on the other hand is a foul ball.