Film Review: ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero’
The makers of “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” could hardly have asked for better timing: Their computer-animated feature about the real-life adventures of an improbably plucky canine on the battlefields of World War I has arrived not long after “Wonder Woman” introduced many young viewers (and, very likely, quite a few older viewers) to the specifics of what was billed — inaccurately, alas — as the War to End All Wars. As a result, director Richard Lanni’s family-friendly yet persuasively detailed movie should come across to a sizable chunk of its target audience as something appreciably more immediate than a period piece set a century ago. Better still, the film is sufficiently intelligent and entertaining to engage most grown-ups and, no kidding, fascinate history buffs.
This is the stranger-than-fiction story of a scruffy stray Boston terrier who bonds with novice solider Robert Conroy (voiced by Logan Lerman) during the latter’s basic training in Connecticut, and manages to follow his human friend aboard a France-bound troop ship. Once they arrive at the Western Front, Stubby repeatedly impresses Conroy and other comrades-in-arms with his uncommon valor, distinguishing himself by uncovering soldiers buried by trench collapses, warning troops and civilians about poison gas attacks, and risking death to locate a wounded (human) friend while under fire from the “Bosch” (i.e., German soldiers).