Togo (2019) Film Review- How Historically Accurate is the Film? Is Balto a Fake?

Synopsis

Leonhard Seppala leads a team of sled dogs across the wintry Alaskan tundra in 1925.

Initial release: December 20, 2019

DirectorEricson CoreBudget: 40 million USD

Music composed byMark Isham

NominationsWriters Guild of America Award for Television: Long Form – Original

My Review

Togo was the first original Disney Plus movie I watched, and it set the bar high for any future original films. This movie is so well crafted, and it will have you both crying and sitting in suspense at several points throughout the film.

My favorite element of this film is the plot and storyline. There are very few movies that come full circle at the end, leaving the audience satisfied. However, this is DEFINTIELY one of those films. Every plot point and action came together beautifully, and the film led the audience down a constructed and well-organized plot. Every single scene fit in perfectly with the ones before it and after, and this created such a smooth flow throughout the entire film. Which created an overall environment for me where I forgot I was watching a film because I was sucked in and invested into the plot.

The other magnificent element of this film was the camera work and color grading. The film has an overall smooth and realistic look to it. The scenes in the Alaskan wilderness look so real and lifelike it feels as if you’re there in the snow with Seppala and his sled dogs. Every aspect of this film plot wise, visually, music, and editing came together flawlessly and compliment each other perfectly.

When I first saw this film and read its description I was immediately intrigued. I have been to Alaska and have volunteered at the famous Iditarod dogsled race, and while I heard Baltos name mentioned many times, I have never heard about Togo until watching this film. After watching this film, I immediately began researching its historical accuracy and found it was pretty much spot on. There are only two major differences between the film and real like that I could find. The first is that Leonhard Seppala had a young daughter in real life, which increased his desire for survival. The second is that in real life Seppala’s track with his team across the frozen sea was actually much more suspenseful and treacherous than the film showed. According to Seppala’s account, the rope connecting Togo to the rest of the team completely snapped and fell into the icy water. Togo bravely jumped into the water, grabbing the rope, wrapping it around himself, and pulling the team to safety. Overall, the film does an outstanding job of sticking to historical accuracy and this is something that goes extremely appreciated.

But that still holds the question of why Balto got all the recognition and fame while most people have never heard of Togo. In reality, Balto was the dog to complete the last section of the relay to deliver a medical serum and save a handful of sickly children. Therefore, at the finish line, Balto got all the photo ops and praise. That’s not to say Balto doesn’t deserve any recognition, in fact I’d say every dog and musher that aided in the relay deserves some. However, all the teams other than Seppala’s travelled an average of 31 miles each. While Seppala and his dog team travelled over 260 miles led by a twelve-year-old dog named Togo. Togo and his team faced the most dangerous treck and whether than any other team, and I believe this deserves lots of recognition.

My Rating

5 out of 5

I have not been this excited after watching a film in a long time. I highly recommend giving it a watch if you have access to Disney Plus. Especially so we can all educate ourselves on the historical serum run of 1925 and finally give Togo the recognition he deserves.


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